Story by: Aisha Issifu Alabireh Dip 1B
Depression is highly prevalent and silent killer among adolescent students and teenagers in Ghana. Reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) describe depression as a common illness worldwide. It is a common mental disorder that afflicts an estimated 350 million people of all ages. Global figures indicate that, over 800,000 adolescents commit suicide every year as a result of undiagnosed symptoms of depression. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family.
According to Dr. Akwasi Osei, the Chief Psychiatrist of the Ghana Health Service said over 10,250,000 Ghanaian women are suffering from depression and mental distress. The number represents 41 percent of the population.
Dr Osei also stated that suicide is increasingly becoming a major hazard contributing to the enormous mental illness and depression experienced not only in Ghana but also worldwide.
In recent times, depression has become rampant and one of the most alarming facts to come from all research. Childhood and teen depression is a reality as it’s affecting younger and younger people- adolescents and teenagers. It strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when the young suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage.
Depression can be caused by academic stress- where teens are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, stressing over tests, grades and classes can cause you to become depressed, especially if you’re expected to excel at all costs. Also family financial struggles can cause depression due to knowing that money is tight in the family can be a very upsetting situation, especially if one is worried about the possibility of losing a home or the standard of living one is habituated to. Romantic problems in adolescents also become a much more noticeable and influential part of life i.e. from breakups to one-sided affection. There are so many ways in which promising love can cause teens to become depressed.
Adolescents suffering from depression are at high risk of developing a substance abuse problems and are likely to have a smaller social circle and take advantage of fewer opportunities for education and careers. They also run the risk of engaging in risky sexual behaviour, leading to higher rate of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Suicidal commitment is also another risk taken by depression patients.