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Depression a silent killer

By Laurence Kanyasa

Mental health experts say depression has become the biggest and most silent killer for many people around the globe and Zimbabwe in particular with youths especially men being the most affected by this phenomenon.

According to mental health experts, depression is when a person experiences sadness, stress, anxiety for longer periods stretching for a period of three months and above.

The existence of sadness in ones life is often normal but when one is said to be depressed they would be experiencing deep sadness which is somewhat different from the ordinary.

“In most cases people do not realise that they are depressed and it is upon family members, friends and the community to identify depression and seek help for their loved ones,” said Danai Charambeni from Zimbabwe National Association of Mental Health.

According to Charambeni, depression can be identified in many ways chief among them loss of interest in life, general tiredness or fatigue that cannot be explained which causes one to sleep for very long hours.

She added that in most cases depression is accompanied by suicidal thoughts, loss of interest in ordinary things where one feels not worthy to live or that their life has no meaning in every facet of life one feels that they are not a perfect fit and they constantly want to be alone.

This notion has also been supported by general medical practitioner, Dr Isheunesu Masimba who said that depression can also affect anyone from children to adults

 He said children often experience depression in many ways and they often keep it to themselves

“Parents need to have a closer look at their children and notice patterns in behavioral change”

Some children often face bullying at school and face all kinds of abuse at home that eventually turns into depression and in some cases that is when society finds young children committing suicide and wonder what could have stressed a young child.

It is a real pandemic that is eating our societies and it is doing so in silent manner in which people would find someone hanging himself or herself, eventually most researchers have found out that the person may have been suffering from depression.

According to Charambeni, women have the highest number of attempted suicide whilst men have the highest number of actual suicide.

This is attributed to nurturing of men in African set-ups where men are expected to be strong and vigilant, in most cases they bottle up feelings and end up committing suicide as a result of depression

“Men do not share problems and it usually leads to suicide or drug use and alcoholism where they believe drinking will get rid of their problems,” Charambeni said 

Doctor Masimba weighed in to say that drugs and alcohol only mask up the problem but does not solve the problem.

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