The Brutal Truths We All Need To Hear About Depression In Nigeria

I am not sure what the official statistics are as at today, but if we are to go by the reports we read in the news and the experiences of the people around us, I think it is safe to say depression may be on the rise in Nigeria.

According to, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, medications, and medical problems, also stress, grief or difficult life circumstances.  It is believed these factors can act alone or interact to cause depression.

For this post I am going to focus on one of the major depression triggers in Nigeria, which is – difficult life circumstances.

If you live in Nigeria, you should not be surprised that many people are at the risk of depression due to continuing life difficulties – unemployment, injustice, insecurity, abuse, poverty, poor support,  inability to meet social/cultural/religious expectations  etc.

Many people are finding it difficult to hold on in the face of the uncertainties and hopelessness.

Will the situation of the country causing these difficulties change soon? I don’t know.

Are there things we can do to help our loved ones who are vulnerable to being depressed by these hardships before they go on a downward spiral? Absolutely!

Here is a short list. Please feel free to add more in the comment section.


Don’t Force People To “Move On”

We seem to always be in hurry to see people “move on” after a traumatic experience, we shut them down when they try to talk about it and we want them to just swallow it and go about life like the terrible event never happened. No, it is not right.

It is hard to find true healing for our emotional wounds if we keep trying to bury them instead of facing them and working our way through to healing. So many people we see and speak with everyday are carrying deep unhealed emotional wounds but they are afraid to confront it because people will say they have not moved on.

People heal at different paces, and in different ways, let them. Let them talk about it, let them cry about it, let them ask questions and try to make sense of it, let them write about it, let them seek justice if possible, let them seek professional help if they need to.

While it is good to encourage them to rise above it, you have to understand that it is essential they go through this process to find the strength they truly need.

Emotional traumas especially in a country like Nigeria where there are so many social ills yet inadequate psychological support, can leave many people more vulnerable to depression.


Listen When People Speak Up

When we read about suicide in the news, people are always so fast to ask why the victim didn’t speak up. But the real question we should be asking is, what happens when people that are depressed or suicidal summon the courage to speak to someone?

If a friend going through life challenges confides in you and you mock them and make them a topic for gossip, then you are part of the problem.  If a friend talks to you and you shut them up by undermining their pain and telling them they are ungrateful to God, then you are part of the problem.

Speaking to the wrong person can set someone who is feeling depressed down a dangerous spiral faster than ever.

You may not be able to solve their problems, but you can listen with your heart, you can empathize, you can be the hand they hold and the soul they trust while they find their way out of the darkness.


Respect People’s Life Journeys

Life will happen for us in different ways at different times, no matter how hard we work or how fervent we pray, not everyone’s life will follow the same path.

We already know these things, but why do we conveniently forget this when we are belittling other people?

There is no one way to do this life. Live and let other people live. Not everyone will achieve some certain milestones at a certain age. Some will be later than others and some may not at all, especially in a country like Nigeria where there are so many odds stacked against you.

Some people you know are living the way they don’t want to because their choices and chances have been limited by Nigeria. No, it is not only about money.

When we judge people by what they wear, where they live, what they do, who they know, and what they have, we place a lot of pressure on people who are already at risk of depression due to life hardships.



There is a crisis of love in this country, it is happening right in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, places of worship, on social media, everywhere!  We need a strong call to love. The many unfortunate situations in this country is making many people forget how to love, how to be kind, how to be compassionate.

There is so much peace you can bring to the people in your lives who are prone to depression through the transforming power of love.

Be patient. Be kind. Don’t be proud. Don’t dishonor others. Don’t delight in evil. Protect. Give.

Thank you for reading. Please join my mailing list so you can be notified whenever I publish a new post or have news to share! I will be sending emails just once a month. No spam, I promise!

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My name is Shola, drawing from my own life experiences I write about emotional wellness, living an authentic life and finding purpose in life’s pain.

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Want to keep in touch? Connect with me on Instagram @sholaokubote


June 13, 2019

About author

Shola Okubote

My name is Shola Okubote, I am the Founder of You can reach me on Twitter – @sholaokubote, and Instagram – sholaokubote

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  1. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Bonn Adam says

    We are praying for our leaders for Nigeria to be better,but the leaders are not praying for Nigeria to be better. they are busy parking money on air,on sea also by land to their different destination

  2. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Ochi Sadiq Ibrahim says

    By d special grace of Almighty God our country (Nigeria) will b better very soon and forever.I see hope and i feel hope and let us join hand together and pray for our dear country.

  3. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Adama Victor Collins says

    The real problem is that our society (in Africa) is designed in such a way that people celebrate anybody who has money. Nobody cares about how your wealth is made, so long you have the money, you are always right. This is a continent where if you found a missing money and return it to the rightful owner, people will call you stupid. If you are elected or appointed to a political office and you refuse to embezzle public fund, people will say that you can never make it in life again. If you have money to bribe, you can get away with almost any crime. Politicians will steal our money and build mansions, buy expensive cars at the detriment of social amenities and good life for the masses yet, the masses will still “worship” these politicians while they will treat a hard working poor man with disdain. Tell me how possible is it that there won’t be depression in the land. Everyone is saying God! God! But I don’t think it’s a God issue (although, with God, all things are possible, no doubt) but I think we as a people should change our orientation and place more priority on integrity, hardwork, genuine intelligence, innovation and respect for fellow humans regardless of their socio economic status. With this, I’m very certain that depression and suicide will be reduced exponentially

  4. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Moses Oluwole Olaseni says

    Hmmmmmm!!! Any hope in sight; with all those in power/position acquire more than needed; plus including what belongs to others. Well, in God we hope.

  5. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Joseph Nwankwo Joseph Nwankwo says

    Is everybody not depressed in this country now?.I remember in those old good days,when you want to wake up earlier, you set the alarm clock to assist you.But now hunger as a result of an empty stomach will wake you up 5 times a night. Tell me how you cannot suffer from depression, are your nerves made of iron?

  6. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Ogechi Ana Duru says

    I can see some comments here and dey are saying “talk to people and relatives” is a fat joke bcos nobody is willing and ready to help in dis our generation everybody wants to listen to ur problem without any solution..
    To me I will say dat whatever challenges or situation dat u are passing through u jus have to face it heads more focus and work even hander bcos like dis everybody dey run dere race

  7. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Mariam Afolakemi Oke Lewis says

    It’s really a tacky one I must say….This is what happens when the government fail it’s youth….it’s a big setback for a country like Nigeria…God help us all

  8. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Angela Unuode says

    Your caption just nailed it

  9. REPLY

    Hoglah Ishaya says

    “Respect other people’s journey ” I really like this point, many of us tend to look down on others just because they have not attain a certain stage we have, and make them feel they are not moving forward, we restrict the definition of success when it is a continual process and somewhat slow and hard especially in a country like Nigeria.
    Again, in our live journey we should not compare ourselves with others, we should trust our journey, it may seem slow and hard but we certainly will make progress.

  10. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Nelson Azuike says

    The problems in Nigeria are huge but not insurmountable
    Even for those with good education, and paid employment,a sudden turn of events could jolt you into destitution
    But let me delimit my comments to youths. The Yoruba tribe have an adage “ti agbalagba ba subu,a wo ehin, ti omode ba subu,a wo waju’
    The import is that young people must continue to be forward looking whenever they encounter setbacks. Be it in academics, relationships, employment and finance.
    After all they have time on their hands to recover from adversities.
    The problem is that young people want a quick fix to everything. The truth is that only very few people get the desired brake early in life
    It is good to pray to be amongst those very few people that Make an early brake through. But how many of us wished we were amongst passengers in an airplane crash, infected with an incurable ailment ?
    The government & philanthropists could do a lot more, but the religious ones amongst us should remember that even Christ said that the poor would continue to be amongst us.
    Efforts alone won’t do the magic, only the grace of God will. Always remember that only someone who planted can complain of a bad harvest, so continue to plant, you all must !

  11. REPLY

    [comment from facebook] Moses Oluwole Olaseni says

    Hmmmmmm!!! Any hope in sight; with all those in power/position acquire more than needed; plus including what belongs to others. Well, in God we hope.

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