A life coach, Mr Ndubuisi Onyenma, has advised youths to have positive mentality towards life, irrespective of any situation to prevent depression.
He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on the sidelines of an Emotional Wellbeing Workshop organised by Inspire Minds Education Foundation, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO).
The workshop, which was organised for students of Baze University in Abuja was to focus on mental health issues, managing stress, trauma and relationships among young people.
According to Onyenma, depression is a disease of the mind and what youths feed their minds with constantly will reflect in what they express at the end of the day.
He said “there are lots of negative things happening in the society today and when you look at the economy, people are not smiling.
“When you let all those things come to your mind, what they do is they cloud your mind, and they trigger stress hormones like cortisol that starts getting you off that positivity.
“Once you are off that positivity, you begin to look at the situation from a negative angle and the next thing will be depression.
“So, it is a shift but the major focus is the mind. If youths can guide their minds and feed it with positivity, they will stay away from expression.”
Onyenma also advised parents and guardians to monitor how youths make use of the social media. According to him, what children and youths are exposed to in their cognitive years will determine what they become later in life.
He said “social media has both positive and negative impacts, but the perception about it is what determines the results.”
He added that a lot of people pick up the negatives from social media and use it against one another, while others use it positively.
“It is a responsibility from the home that is a fundamental part to start watching this thing.
“What are you teaching your children from cognitive development, from motor sensory stage to concrete stage, to operational stage to adulthood?.
“So, in the formative part of their lifestyle from zero to seven years, what have they learned? Whatever they have learnt will determine what they will become in the future.
“There has to be that intentional perspective about parents, putting a close watch on what children are being exposed to.”
According to Onyenma, when children are left to browse the internet unattended, they are left to the vulnerability of being exposed to things that they should not have been exposed to in the first place.
The Founder of the NGO, Mrs Rosemary Uwaleme, said that the rate of depression and suicide ideation was now on the increase due to different factors.
According to her, some people may have the same life experiences and not come down with mental conditions because their brains are wired differently. “The Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria said that over 60 million Nigerians suffer from mental illnesses.
“Common mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are eating deep among young people today.
“Mental illness is just as important as physical illness but it is not given the much needed attention.
“Also, the present economic situation is making things even worse, and many young people cannot fend for themselves, not to talk about doing other things for themselves or their family, and this can be depressing.
”She added that the most important thing is to seek for help either by opening up to a family member, a counsellor or a trusted person that can help to solve the problem.
Uwaleme said that during counselling sessions, many young people complained about different situations affecting them, ranging from being uncomfortable with the way they look and lack of confidence in themselves. “Some struggle with drug abuse, academics, loss of a parent or the fact that some parents will not allow them to follow their passion.’’
She advised them to always look on the positive side as their stories could take a different turn with the right help and approach.
She added that “as counsellors, we are motivated when we see people who initially had nearly given up begin to enjoy life again, make meaning out of life and even begin to inspire others.
“We believe that our young people are the hope for a brighter future.
“That is why we are here to bring to your alertness that you are strong, you are creative and capable of achieving whatever you put your mind to.”