As part of efforts to curb the increasing rate of women who fall into depression following the trauma of domestic violence, the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has organised a capacity training programme to help survivors overcome their mental health challenges.

Speaking at a one-day capacity building workshop organised by the Ministry with the theme: “Depression Linked with Domestic Violence”, held at the Women Development Centre, Agege, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), stated that the programme was designed to help victims who suffer depression from Gender-Based Violence (GBV) achieve emotional and financial freedom after the traumatic experience. 

Dada, represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, said the workshop was borne out of the need to sensitise women and girls on the effects of GBV, which often leads to depression, affects productivity, fuels a cycle of poverty, violence and chronic health issues amongst others.

Her words: “Statistics have shown that one in every three women worldwide have experienced either physical or intimate sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime, while 38% of murder cases are committed by an intimate partner”. 

“From recent analysis, victims of Gender-Based Violence particularly rape, experience a depressed mood, feeling of emptiness and sadness afterwards. Therefore, there is a need to evolve strategies to enhance productivity, meaningful lives and a sustainable environment for the victims”, she added.

Highlighting the Ministry’s efforts against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, the Commissioner pointed out that the priority of the Lagos State Government is to maintain a frontal position against all forms of violence through the several programmes that have been initiated to reduce or totally eradicate the menace.

In her contribution, Mrs. Harriet Ogbobine, a Relationship, Family and Life Principal Consultant of IGGI POP Nigeria Limited, applauded the State Government for its continuous contributions towards empowering women and encouraged participants to be advocates by creating awareness on the issue in their respective communities.

She said: “Victims of Gender-Based Violence should be encouraged to speak up and speak out against any form of domestic violence so that the perpetrators feel the full weight of the law with a view to deterring other perpetrators from indulging in same condemnable actions”.

Also speaking, Dr. Olurotimi Coker; a Consultant, Psychiatrist/Clinical Psychology, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) explained the different types of depression as well as ways to prevent and manage them, stressing the need for early detection and treatment to reduce its impact on victims.

He also advised Lagosians to stop the stigmatisation of people who visit psychiatrists and therapists but should rather encourage and commend them for taking such worthy steps to improve their mental health and overall state of being.