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Saturday April 20, 2024

Nigerian takes to the water to raise mental health awareness

Medical professionals say the stigma associated with mental health in Nigeria’s culturally conservative society makes it difficult for people to open up

By REUTERS
April 01, 2024
Supporters of Akinrodoye Samuel cheer, while he swims to complete his ambitious endeavor to swim the 11.8 km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme Swim Against Suicide And Depression in Lagos, Nigeria on March 30, 2024. — X/@Zikoko_Mag
Supporters of Akinrodoye Samuel cheer, while he swims to complete his ambitious endeavor to swim the 11.8 km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria on March 30, 2024. — X/@Zikoko_Mag

LAGOS: Nigerian swimmer Akinrodoye Samuel has tried to raise awareness on mental health in Africa’s most populous nation, swimming nearly 12-km, the length of the longest bridge in Lagos where many people have jumped to their deaths. Samuel, a swimming coach, said he was moved by the death of a friend to speak up on how depression can ruin lives.

A 2021 Unicef report showed one in six Nigerians aged between 15 and 24 were depressed, anxious or had other mental health issues.

Medical professionals say the stigma associated with mental health in Nigeria’s culturally conservative society makes it difficult for people to open up.

“We are doing this too so people don’t just think that suicide is the next option,” Samuel told Reuters after finishing the swim in the Lagos Lagoon on Saturday.