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IN PICS | Nigerian takes to the water to raise mental health awareness

Akinrodoye Samuel swims the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge to raise awareness of suicide and depression, in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel swims the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge to raise awareness of suicide and depression, in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye

Nigerian swimmer Akinrodoye Samuel has swum nearly 12km, the length of the longest bridge in Lagos, to raise awareness of mental health in Africa's most populous nation.

Samuel, a swimming coach, said he was moved by the experience of a friend who nearly took his own life due to depression.

Samuel swam 11.8km next to the Third Mainland Bridge, where many people have jumped to their deaths.

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.

Akinrodoye Samuel addresses the press ahead of his ambitious attempt to swim the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel addresses the press ahead of his ambitious attempt to swim the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
Akinrodoye Samuel shakes hands with Mobolaji Ogunlende of the Commission for Youths and Social Development, ahead of his attempt to swim the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel shakes hands with Mobolaji Ogunlende of the Commission for Youths and Social Development, ahead of his attempt to swim the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
Akinrodoye Samuel jumps into the water to start his 11.8km 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel jumps into the water to start his 11.8km 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
Akinrodoye Samuel on his 11.8km swim in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel on his 11.8km swim in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
Supporters of Akinrodoye Samuel cheer while he swims in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Supporters of Akinrodoye Samuel cheer while he swims in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
People watch from the Third Mainland Bridge during Akinrodoye Samuel's 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
People watch from the Third Mainland Bridge during Akinrodoye Samuel's 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
Akinrodoye Samuel while swimming the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel while swimming the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge, advocating for the theme 'Swim Against Suicide And Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye
Supporters of Akinrodoye Samuel cheer while he swims the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, Nigeria.
Supporters of Akinrodoye Samuel cheer while he swims the 11.8km stretch of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, Nigeria.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous DurowaiyeMarvellous Durowaiye
Akinrodoye Samuel team hands him over to a medical team after he completes his 11.8km 'Swim Against Suicide and Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Akinrodoye Samuel team hands him over to a medical team after he completes his 11.8km 'Swim Against Suicide and Depression' in Lagos, Nigeria, on March 30 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye

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