Today is the International Day Of Happiness. Ironically enough, it comes after a weekend of suicides in Nigeria.
On Saturday, a 500 level student from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State committed suicide by hanging. His friends said they’d returned home from a night of reading to find Adesoji Adediran dangling from the ceiling. According to them, there was nothing strange in his behavior when they left him that Friday night. In fact, a close friend of the deceased described him as as “funny and lively”, not the usual candidate for suicide. More on Adediran’s story here.
Just yesterday ( Sunday) a doctor asked his driver to park while he got out of the car and jumped off the Third mainland Bridge in Lagos and that was that. This is the reality: what appeared to be foreign practice is slowly becoming a norm in Nigeria; it’s clearly not about location, it’s a state of mind-such a pity!
Mental health is important and we really need to take it seriously. Last week, I heard of a guy who went on his FB page and told his friends that he planned to take his life. No one took him seriously. Some even taunted him, daring him to go ahead and next thing they knew they were drafting RIP messages while others cursed him out for being silly.
I suspect for such people it’s a bit more than the surface sadness we all face for a limited period. I think they must have reached a point where they can no longer control themselves. It’s a disease and like many diseases can’t be controlled by sheer will power.
Barbara Kingsolver perhaps puts it more succinctly. She says:
There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.
What can we do then?
1. Watch our mental health really closely
2. Seek help if we think things are getting out of hand
3. Watch out for our friends closely and ask them questions.
This graphic I found on the net profers some great solutions to maintaining happiness as well.
Depression and other forms of mental health are things we hardly ever discuss in this society but perhaps it is time we do.
With this , I bid you Happy International Day of Happiness and dare to ask you, ‘How are you doing today. I mean, really?I would like to know.’
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