Today, I was invited to attend a seminar at This Present House church on dealing with depression. The speaker was Dr Boluwatife Oluwafunmilola – Lola Dare.
Here are my summary notes. Dr Dare started by asking us the following questions.
·      Have you ever been depressed?
·      Are you currently depressed?
·      Why were you depressed?
Turns out that most people in the room thought they had been depressed but were actually sad. Sadness and depression are not the same thing. If something happens to you that is unpleasant like losing your job, its normal to feel sad.
Shades of mental wellness
Happy, Angry, Worried, Anxious, Low, Unhappy, Sad, Depressed, Suicide, Insanity

Mental Wellness is a state of wellbeing in which an individual
·      Realises her own abilities
·      Can cope with normal stresses of life
·      Can work productively and fruitfully
·      Able to make contribution to yourself and society
Transitions and stressors
Life: Puberty, Menopause, Virility, Aging
Developmental: Primary to Secondary, University to Work to Promotion
Key points
2011 Nigerians were named one of the happiest people on the earth
2017 –  Nigerians are now the most depressed in Africa
22% of Nigerians suffer from chronic depression
12% of Nigerians adolescent have attempted suicide
It starts much earlier than clinical manifestation
What has changed? The biggest factor I believe is society pressure to belong and keep up brought about by Social Media
How do I know if I am getting depressed?
·      Losing closeness
·      Not wanting to talk about it
·      Feeling lonely even when you are in a crowd
·      When it lasts for more than the average time from your stressors
·      Threshold is influenced by your personality type
What can trigger depression?
·      Financial hardship
·      Relationship breakdown
·      Disappointments
·      Feeling of failure
·      loss
There’s an increase in the number of teens in Nigeria facing depression. Reasons include

·      Parents economic turn down 
·      Social media
·      Sexual orientation issues
·      Puberty and Adolescence
·      Culture and conflict
·      Busy parents
Signs to watch out for
Has my child changed to the following?
1. Mood
2. Eating patterns
3. Secretive
4. Hyper sensitive
5. Locks the door
What opportunities exist for churches and communities to help support those suffering from depression?
Have more empathy, listening skills, compassion, respect and respect privacy. 
Dont say it is well when it is not well
What tools can we use to help cope with depression?
Counselling, Support Groups, Awareness communications, Workshops, Seminars,
What NOT to say to someone who is depressed
·      It is well
·      Just get over it
·      Just pray
When a person is depressed their self worth will be affected. So please remind them of the following:

You are not alone
You matter
You are important
I care
I’m glad you’re here
I am not giving up on you
Can mental unwellness be prevented? 

Yes before it escalates. The person just has to know when they need help and seek it.
Hope these notes help and please feel free to share your own suggestions about depression and how to cope. Knowledge is power.

My inlaw Sopulu Okoye runs a support group. Please check his Facebook page
Rekindle counselling and therapy



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