Expert Sounds Warning on Depression
Leading causes of depression among Fiji’s young people are technology, social media, studies and relationship problems.
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.”