We live in a time where most people have at one time or another been ‘depressed’. People get depressed for several reasons, but generally, people are said to have fallen into depression when they begin to lose interest in social and fun activities, and also when they start being withdrawn from the company of others. It’s a feeling of being sad, unhappy, and lonely.
According to American Psychiatric Association ‘Depression’ is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and home. Major Clinic equally defines depression as a ‘mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest’. Where a person experiences the loss of a loved one or is grieving, it is only natural for such person to be in a state of sadness, but this does not pass for depression as it only amounts to depression when it becomes persistent.
According to World Health Organisation, 249 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and it’s no news that depression is the leading cause of suicide globally. Research has proven that women suffer more from depression than men and that there is a high tendency of depressive disorder genetically.
Several factors lead to depression. One of them is, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse is one of the major contributory factors of depression. People that have fallen victims to abuse, usually keep to themselves because they most times suffer from low self-esteem, anger, anxiety, shame, guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, insomnia, and self-destructive behaviour. Some victims of abuse even suffer secondary trauma from being blamed for the abuse they endured. Illness is another factor that leads to depression, chronic and long term illnesses that can lead to isolation, disability, excruciating pain and total dependence on people examples of such illness includes; heart disease, HIV/AIDS, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, lupus, thyroid problems, and so on. Genetics too, yes genetics. According to Everyday Health, depression is not inherited, but one may inherit genes that may predispose one to a depressive condition. Thus if you have a parent or sibling with a major depressive disorder, you are more likely to suffer from depression compared to someone with no family history. Childbirth, women suffer a type of mental disorder after childbirth, and this is popularly known as ‘postpartum depression’ Postpartum depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some women after giving birth - (WebMD). World Health organization equally describes this period as the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies. During this period some mother feel a disconnection from their babies, they cry excessively often for no reason, get withdrawn from the family and friends, the suffer low libido, change in appetite, severe fatigue, mood swing, lack of sleep, thoughts death and suicide, severe anger, lack of concentration, depressed mood. Other factors that lead to depression include age, conflicts, major events, certain medications, substance abuse, pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-menopause, etc.
Police Work and Depression
Just like any other person, police officers are at risk of suffering from depression, I could even say that police officer are at greater risk because the nature of our job exposes us to dangers, situations, events, and circumstances that could affect our mental health would lead to depression, if not treated. In most cases, it is easier to talk about stress than depression in the police for the fear of being perceived as not being mentally and emotionally fit to carry out one’s duty. Imagine having daily encounters with people who probably do not value you and the work you do, but yet you have to work diligently. A typical example is the direct attacks and killing of police officers during END SARS protest; many police officers suffered depression after the protest, but still have to carry out their pledged duties, another example is the incessant and unprovoked killings of police officers, this is just enough to make officers slip into depression