Ex­pert Sounds Warn­ing on De­pres­sion

Lead­ing causes of de­pres­sion among Fiji’s young peo­ple are tech­nol­ogy, so­cial me­dia, stud­ies and re­la­tion­ship prob­lems.

Fiji Sun - - Nation - NA­CANIELI TUILE­VUKA Edited by Epineri Vula Feed­back: na­canieli.tuile­vuka@fi­jisun.com.fj

De­pres­sion is now a ma­jor is­sue among young peo­ple in Fiji, says Min­istry of Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices NonCom­mu­ni­ca­ble Disease na­tional ad­viser Isimeli Tukana. While de­liv­er­ing his speech dur­ing the World Men­tal Health Day cel­e­bra­tions at Civic Cen­tre in Labasa, Dr Tukana said young peo­ple were un­der a range of un­prece­dented pres­sures that im­pacted their men­tal health. “De­pres­sion is now a ma­jor is­sue for young peo­ple. It is ‘self-med­i­cat­ing’ through the use of al­co­hol and il­licit drugs. Pre­ven­tion be­gins with be­ing aware of and un­der­stand­ing the early warn­ing signs and symp­toms of men­tal ill­ness,” he said.

Dr Tukana said de­pres­sion was ex­pected to be­come the largest sin­gle health­care bur­den glob­ally. The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion ex­pects that by 2030 de­pres­sion will have be­come the largest sin­gle health­care bur­den, cost­ing $6 tril­lion glob­ally. The lead­ing causes of de­pres­sion among Fiji’s young peo­ple are tech­nol­ogy, so­cial me­dia, stud­ies and re­la­tion­ship prob­lems. He said adults needed to recog­nise that, while be­ing a moody teenager is part of grow­ing up, for many young peo­ple life was in­creas­ingly stress­ful.

Dr Tukana said de­pres­sion could

than later lead to sui­cide, adding that sui­cide was the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death glob­ally among 15 to 29-year-olds. “Vic­tim­i­sa­tion of young peo­ple on­line re­ceived an in­creas­ing level of scru­tiny, par­tic­u­larly af­ter a se­ries of high-pro­file sui­cides of young peo­ple who were re­port­edly bul­lied on var­i­ous so­cial net­works,” he said. “Spite­ful posts on Face­book and the shar­ing of em­bar­rass­ing videos and im­ages of young peo­ple can be emo­tion­ally dam­ag­ing. An­other worry for youths is ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and ro­bot­ics, which posed threat to their ca­reers. “Sui­cide num­bers in Fiji have steadily been greater than deaths on our roads with 70 cases recorded from Jan­uary to Septem­ber this year, sur­pass­ing the num­ber of deaths on our roads.

“Even though it was said that stu­dent days are filled with hap­pi­ness and en­joy­ment, how­ever it is also a phase where so­cial me­dia bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion are quite preva­lent.”

He urged gad­get users not to use lap­tops and desk­top a lot, but also en­sure that the “neck-top” of the hu­man body is also be­ing used. “Hu­man brains are needed to be used. The hu­man brain starts to de­velop when you are two weeks old in your mother’s womb,” he said. Dr Tukana stressed the im­por­tance of breast­feed­ing to moth­ers be­cause it helped to de­velop a child’s brain.

He said young women needed to breast­feed their chil­dren be­cause breast milk con­tained vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents that ba­bies needed in the first six months of life.

He has called on young peo­ple to speak to an adult, pas­tor, NGOs and other Gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion if they need some­one to talk to. “If you need some­one to talk to, you can al­ways con­tact Life­line Fiji on 132454.”

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