Cameroonians have been urged to curb depression which is one of the leading causes of mental disorder in the world. The call was made yesterday December 27 by the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Public Health, Alim Hayatou as he presided at a ceremony to mark the end of two-month long period of activities to commemorate World Mental Health Day. During the ceremony at the Yaounde Jamot Hospital, a former mental disorder patient testified how treatment is rendering his life better each day.
Since October 10, when the World Mental Health Day was commemorated on the theme: "Depression: A Global Crisis", the Department of Health Promotion at the Ministry of Public Health has been involved in awareness campaigns, open-day events and free screening of patients suffering from depression. Statistics indicate that depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. 20 per cent of consultations at the psychiatric unit of the Yaounde Jamot Hospital are linked to depression. While 18 per cent of such cases undertake medical follow-up in various health units in the country, two per cent are hospitalised.
Dr Kamga of the psychiatric unit of the Yaounde Jamot Hospital said more women suffer from depression than men. While stating that depression amongst adolescents is manifested through the use of toxic drugs and massive consumption of alcohol, Dr Kamga said depression kills more than HIV as statistics indicate that each second somebody dies from depression while within 60 seconds somebody dies from HIV. Given that depression affects all groups of people, the Ministry of Public Health prolonged activities to commemorate World Mental Health Day so as to increase public awareness about mental health issues. It is said that depression is a common mental disorder, characterised by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.