The Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON) has said no fewer than seven million Nigerians are living with depression.
National President of the society, Dr Akin Moses, disclosed this on yesterday at a press conference to mark the 2017 World Family Doctors Day in Abuja.
Moses said based on research conducted by some physicians between 2015 and 2016, 29 million people in Africa were depressed while 322 million were affected with the condition globally.
He said the study showed that an estimated 788,000 suicide deaths worldwide occurred in 2015, while 10 suicide deaths per 100,000 population were recorded in Nigeria within the period.
According to him, there were a few unfortunate suicide deaths in Nigeria which were attributed to severe stressful life events.
He noted that depression played a role in more than half of all suicide attempts and up to 15 per cent of those that were depressed died by suicide. The physician said if not checked and treated, a depressed person has a 20 per cent chance of committing suicide.
The president of the society described depression as a common mental health problem that affects moods, resulting in a change in the way person feels, thinks and acts.
He said apart from stressful conditions, negative life events like bereavement, job loss, financial difficulty, divorce, loneliness, childhood abuse and neglect could also trigger depression.
Moses added that people with chronic pains and medical disorders; as well as patients on certain drugs and those abusing drugs like cocaine, amphetamine, narcotics and alcohol were all at risk.
He disclosed that a combination of medication and psychotherapy; as well as support and care from family members were appropriate treatment for depression.
According him, primary care physicians in the country will continue to create awareness to reduce negative perception and stigma.
He also pledged their readiness to recognise and support those at risk of developing depression.