By Seun Sanni and Ope Adetayo

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigerian swimmer Akinrodoye Samuel has tried to raise awareness on mental health in Africa’s most populous nation, swimming nearly 12 km (7.45 miles), 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.

(Reporting by Seun Sanni, writing by Ope Adetayo, editing by Nick Macfie)

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