Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent depressed moods or loss of interest. It is also known as depressive disorder or clinical depression. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave which can cause a lot of problems in our daily lives.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), suicide is the second leading cause of death in the world. This is alarming based on how little information about suicide and its causes are known in most Cameroonian communities.

Depression is a call for concern.

Everything or action we are able to do is as a result of how well our brains (minds) function. A human who has mental issues cannot properly function. Reports say most Cameroonians make it to their old age without ever visiting a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist even once.

In most communities in Cameroon, expressing extreme sadness or gloominess is often deemed as a sign of weakness. Most of us Cameroonians are trained and raised to “Be strong always” so as not to appear weak and lazy in society.

It does not even help matters that people who have serious mental illness are left unattended to and left to fend for themselves on the streets where their conditions worsen. People who go as far as to seek professional help for mental health issues and illnesses are still looked upon as strange or feeble in society.

With how Cameroonians with mental illness are shunned, most people don’t voice out their mental issues for the fear of being shunned by society as well. We focus more on our body and physical state while neglecting and dejecting the fact that our minds (brains) need the same care and attention too.

This fear of being seen as “crazy”, weak or as an outcast in society has made many Cameroonians to shy away from seeking professional help for their mental issues. Most people are going through a lot mentally and are slowly dying from depression inside while maintaining a happy physical appearance.

It is worth mentioning that last year, the WHO in their report titled “Suicide in the World, Global Health Estimates” reported that in the year 2019, Cameroon was among the top ten suicide-prone nations in Africa.

According to this report, the rate of suicide is estimated at 19.5 per one hundred thousand inhabitants. Cameroon was ranked fifth in this report with over 2,867 suicide victims.

Depression was also listed as the main cause of death in most of these cases. Depression in the form of clinical depression and depression developed as a result of an abrupt loss, break up or financial difficulty.

How can you help?

People who talk about suicide may be reaching out for help or support. Many people contemplating suicide are expressing depression or hopelessness and may feel that there is no other option, the WHO reported.

Most people just need someone to talk to and with how drifted apart we have become as a result of technology, it is only sensible that therapeutic sessions and consultations with professionals in the mental health field be normalized.

With mild cases of depression, friends and family should provide support by being willing to listen and showing concern. In very severe cases of depression, it is important to seek professional help before it worsens.

This article was modified from a Cameroonian Cultural blog managed by Narokeri Moki-Suh with her consent.

Kamer Kulture Journal
This website is about showcasing and celebrating the rich Cameroonian culture
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