How to Deal with Societal Pressure and Depression in Nigeria

With the advent of social media and the adoption of numerous societal norms. Nigerian society has grown into many things, and prevalent among these things is societal pressure which in turn leads to depression among many Nigerian citizens. In the following paragraphs, we will look closely at ways to deal with depression in Nigeria, as well as societal pressure.

According to an International survey conducted by UNICEF and GALLUP, According to survey results, one in every six young Nigerians aged 15 to 24 is depressed, has little interest in doing things, or is worried, nervous, or anxious. This indicates that young people in Nigeria are struggling with their mental health. This is one of the highest percentages of any of the 21 countries polled, with young people in Lebanon coming in second, who believe they feel more pressure to succeed than their elders.

Depression in Nigeria

Dr. Lucky Onofa, a consultant psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, lamented the rise in mental disease cases among Nigerian adolescents, noting that 1.4 million of them experience depression.

What are the causes of societal pressure and depression in Nigeria?

 Societal pressure emanates from occurrences that can affect the mental thinking of children, youth, and adults in any given society. Most of this thinking is often associated with detrimental emotions that negatively impact the minds of individuals involved in the process. According to the Psychology Dictionary, Societal pressure is the influence or control exerted on a person or group by another person or group.

It includes rational argument, persuasion, conformity, and demand. Many factors can be attributed to the causes of societal pressure among citizens of Nigeria, and listed below are a few reasons why youths in Nigeria can feel the heat of social pressure. 

  • The need to do more than expected among peers and family members: This can happen due to trying to impress parents or family or friends about one’s capability to prove oneself. It might be financially, academically, or socially. Let us say Jide is the youngest of a family of four who has been labeled as having less potential for success. Due to his perceived lack of talent compared to his siblings or his friends. It is possible for this to trigger the need or desire to push himself to the brink. By excessively thinking or worrying about how to achieve success in little or no time.
  • Increased desire for self-identity and expression: Once a child gets to a certain stage, there is this sense of self-identity which starts growing in you. These feelings might be different from the ones associated with the people around you. And it can create a bridge between expressing yourself and the people around you once you start depicting yourself in this manner. 
  • Exposure to drugs and extravagant lifestyles on social media: Exposure to drugs and flamboyant lifestyles can create unnecessary pressure and thus mess up your mental thinking. Especially if you don’t have the available means to fit into these categories among your friends. This is often the case among students in secondary schools, polytechnics, and universities in Nigeria.
  • Low self-esteem: Children or youth with low- self-esteem are more likely to fall under the problems of societal pressure which can easily morph into a deep depression if not taken care of. Low self-esteem can stem from a lack of confidence, fear, or disability. 
  • Fear of rejection: The need to be accepted among family, and peers without the fear of being reprimanded or rejected is one of the major causes of societal pressure in Nigeria. This is a grave issue among iPhone and car owners on campus who believe they belong to a particular caucus. To avoid rejection, many youths go to extra lengths to fit themselves into this paradigm 
  • Poor Parenting: Poor efforts by parents to watch over and train their kids collectively can lead to unnecessary pressure on them. This case is evident in broken homes across the country where children are abandoned to thread their path all alone without financial and emotional support from parents.
  • Social media: Social media is fast becoming a bane in our society for youth and children alike due to the power of influence it carries. Platforms like IG, and Tiktok have given rise to imaginary ‘like’ buttons and views that many youths now hold in high regard as a determinant of success. Frequent parades of extravagant dressings and lifestyles can affect youth’s mentality to believe they are living their life the wrong way.
  • Social Isolation and previous traumatic experiences: Past traumatic pressure and social isolation can cause anxiety, exhaustion, and irritation which may lead to depression and cause serious dangers to one’s mental thinking.

The negative impact of societal pressure and depression on Nigerian citizens

  1. Break confidence
  2. It can make you emotionally vulnerable to manipulations
  3. Lead you into bad habits
  4. Lead to poor academic performance
  5. Lead to a lack of concentration on life goals
  6. This can lead you to drug and substance abuse
  7. Internalization of negative beliefs about yourself
  8. It can lead to self-guilt and shame

 How you can deal with societal pressure and depression in Nigeria

 Dealing with depression and societal pressure can be difficult, especially in a country like Nigeria. Where access to mental health resources is limited and mental health issues are limited. However, there are some steps that you can take to help manage your depression and cope with societal pressures as a Nigerian:

  • Speak with an expert online or offline: Even though it might be difficult to locate mental health specialists in Nigeria, it’s crucial to do so if you’re depressed. Consider consulting a doctor, therapist, or counselor that may be available in your locality. And regard medication and therapy as part of your treatment plan. You can also take to Google to research available options on the internet.
  • Create a network of support around you: Lean on your friends and family for emotional support. They might be your friends in your school or workplace, perhaps in your neighborhood. Meet with them and discuss your ordeal with them instead of keeping it to yourself alone. Consider joining support groups or online communities for people dealing with depression. Check out support groups on Reddit, Discord, and Facebook that you can join.
  • Take good care of yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a balanced diet. Spend time doing things that make you happy and confident in yourself. If you don’t have any skills, you should consider learning one. Spend time perfecting your skills, and practicing what you’ve learned

Embrace self-compassion and keep in mind that you’re not alone in your struggle with depression. Be kind to yourself and avoid self-judgment. Don’t overthink and let your mind wander around with these thoughts with the belief that everything will pass in due time.

  • Call into question societal pressures: Be aware of the role that societal pressures and over-expectations can play in depression symptoms, and do your best to resist them. Avoid those who or situations that make you feel bad about yourself and try to be around people who support you and your goals.


Bottom line.

Keep in mind that overcoming depression and societal pressure is a process. Finding the right treatment plan and coping mechanisms may take time, but with patience and persistence, you can manage your depression and live a fulfilling life.

Damilola Ademodi

Damilola Ademodi is a freelancer copy and content writer. He enjoys writing informative and insightful articles in niches like tech, crypto, web 3 and featured blog post.