Depression as a Mental Health Indicator

 

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Vinah  Kehinde

Written by:  EDISON M.E, MPH in view

 

 

Depression as a Mental Health Indicator; Mental health is one of the most neglected aspects of human health, in Nigeria most people assume that mental health is restricted to diseases related to psychotic disorders, and it’s become one of the most stigmatized health discuss. People feel that mental health is synonymous with insanity; they tend to neglect things like depression, post-traumatic disorder, and even personality disorder.

 

Mental Health is a durable capital good and as such, people must consciously invest in it and be educated on how to protect it, the lower your mental health stock, the lower your healthy days, and the lower your healthy days, the lower your productivity.

Our focus is on depression and the goal of this post is to gain important insight on how one can measure his or her own mental health wellness. Remember, mental health is so important and at the core of life.

 

 WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

The WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (who.int) defines Depression as a common mental disorder. Globally, it is estimated that 5% of adults suffer from the disorder. It is characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities. It can also disturb sleep and appetite. Tiredness and poor concentration are common. Depression is a leading cause of disability around the world and contributes greatly to the global burden of disease. The effects of depression can be long-lasting or recurrent and can dramatically affect a person’s ability to function and live a rewarding life.

The World Health Organization (who.int) released statistics that the prevalence of depression in Nigeria is estimated to be around 4.6% of the population. This translates to approximately 7.9 million people in Nigeria who suffer from depression. This report may not capture the true figure of the depressed people population in Nigeria because of the high stigma index that may prevent a majority of people to discuss their mental health status.

 

HOW CAN ONE CHECK/MONITOR/MEASURE HIS OR HER MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS?

The following suggestion will help you measure and check your mental health status:

 

MONITOR YOUR EMOTIONS REGULARLY:

The best way to keep track of your mental health is to monitor your emotions regularly and pay attention to how you feel and react to situations and events. This will help you avoid any negative environment that may trigger your mood swing.


    • PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH: Your physical health can significantly impact your mental health and vice versa. ensure you make a conscious effort of taking care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. A good way to start is by practicing self-care


    • KEEP A JOURNAL: you may call it, a mood journal’ This will help you to track your emotions and any patterns you notice. This can help you identify triggers for negative emotions and help you develop coping strategies.


    • CONSIDER CONSULTING A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL: while this may sound non-personal, it is always advised to visit your doctor and seek health support when you can no longer keep track of your mental health when depression set in.

It is important to note that being depressed doesn’t mean insanity. There are several levels of depression, the earlier the detection the better.

 

WHAT ARE THE INDICATORS OF DEPRESSION?

 

    • Reoccurring feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness.
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable.
    • Changes in appetite or weight.
    • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping.
    • Fatigue, low energy, and decreased motivation.
    • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
    • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.
    • Physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems, or chronic pain.
    • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
    • loss of interest in social activities and relationships.

SOME FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION

 

    • Men tend to seek less mental health help due to societal expectations of the masculine gender
    • Substance abuse can cause depression.
    • Anger, aggression, irritability, and even violence are all symptoms of depression.
    • Depression can occur at any age, but the risk increases with age.
    • People from low economic backgrounds are at higher risk of depression, which means that poverty can cause depression
    • Low self-esteem is one of the symptoms of depression
    • Isolation and lack of social support can increase the risk of depression

 

HOW CAN YOU PREVENT DEPRESSION?

 

It is important to note that the preventive measure may not be completely applicable to every person because of other causative factors like genetics and brain chemistry, however, the following measures can help you invest in your mental health stock:

 

DEVELOP A STRONG/HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AND SUPPORT SYSTEM

Building a relationship can take time and effort, however, it does have the following impact which can reduce the risk of depression:

 

 

    • Emotional support: good people in your life are instruments of emotional support which can help reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can increase the risk of depression.

    • increase self-esteem: Healthy relationships can help boost self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Feeling valued and appreciated can help combat negative thoughts and feelings associated with depression. When you are among good people who mean well to you, your happiness increases and happiness is an antidote to depression. Good and healthy relationships can help you build healthy behavior and a positive mindset for your mental well-being.
    • Provide a sense of purpose: Building healthy relationships can provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. This can be especially important for individuals with depression, who may struggle with feelings of hopelessness and lack of purpose.

EXERCISE

Exercise has a number of benefits to both your mental health and physical health. It can help reduce depression in some of the ways listed below:

 

    • Boosts mood: Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

    • Improves sleep: Exercise can improve the quality of sleep, which is important for overall mental health and well-being. Getting adequate sleep can also help reduce symptoms of depression.

    • Social interaction: getting involved in exercise activities, such as group fitness classes or sports, can provide opportunities for social interaction and support. This can help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness that can contribute to depression.

    • Builds self-esteem: Regular exercise can help build self-esteem and confidence, which can be important for managing symptoms of depression.

    • Exercise provides a sense of purpose: Engaging in regular exercise can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which can help combat feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that are common in depression.

Others preventive measures include: eating well, sleeping well and rest can prevent depression.

 

REMEDY

Medication: yourhealthcare provider may recommend antidepressant drugs where symptoms are developed.

 

IN CONCLUSION

It is important that an individual is saddled with the primary responsibility of investing in his or her health stock, neglecting it, is reducing your healthy days. Your mental health is as important as your physical health.

 

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