Mental Health.

mental healthMental illness is a serious problem in the world we live in today, but sadly its severity is met with ignorance, passive dismissive behaviour /remarks and flat out mockery in our country Nigeria.  We are yet to come to terms with the grisly reality that stares us in the face. Mental Health challenges has hit pandemic proportions in recent times, the news is rife with the gloomy reports of suicides or attempted suicides, mental/nervous breakdowns and other forms of erratic behaviour. DEPRESSION seems to be the major focus but there is a lot more, DEPRESSION as serious as it is, is just a fraction of a much bigger issue.  Mental Illness.

 

Mental illness according to Mental Health America is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behaviour, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.

 

Nigerians are quick to associate anything that remotely has ‘’mental’’ in it as full blown, stark raving madness. Talk about seeing a psychiatrist or going to a psychiatric hospital and people begin to avoid you like a leper, they see you as one of the characters from Faze’s Kolomental video or as a Yaba left ”candidate”. They imagine drooling, drugged up, manic people strapped in stray jackets and acting in an unruly fashion. We need to understand that the unclad/semi clad mad woman/man roaming our markets and streets may have been diagnosed early, treated and possibly cured if only pre-emptive actions were taken. Pre-emptive actions can save a lot of lives.

 

anxietyWe need to know and understand the various symptoms of mental health challenges, where proper counselling, examination, and possible treatment {if need be} can be sorted. We need to know that possible diagnosis of mental health conditions do not mean automatic confinement in a mental health facility or hospital. We need to know that people diagnosed with any of these conditions be it depression, anxiety, eating disorders etc, can get treatment from their homes, offices, churches and place of business on a scheduled basis.

You are not alone, There is HOPE.Hope

aloneIf you think you experience one or more of the symptoms of mental health challenges, seek professional help immediately, It is not something to be ashamed of, it can happen to anyone, adult, child, pastor, politician. It can even be hereditary, it does not connote weakness or frailty. It is like every other illness, you will not be ashamed to see a doctor to treat malaria will you? You can quietly see a professional. Professionals practice confidentiality so talk to them freely and share exactly how you feel.

I would also like to say look out for signs of mental illness in the people around us, our friends, family, colleagues etc, but we all know how these things play out, mushroom psychiatrists will spring forth over night and proffer their unsolicited diagnosis. Low moments not necessarily borne out of mental health conditions will be remembered and we go ‘’I knew it, he /she is sick in the head, this just proved it’’ Bros my hand, no dey oh.  Everything is watered down to jokes, memes, hash tags and trends, the internet may be littered with #youmayhavementalillnessif and they will make us reel with laughter with their intended hilarity…in true Nigerian fashion.

 

seek helpStill, we have to GENUINELY look out for prominent distortions in the behaviours of those close to us, talk to them about seeing a professional, accompany them if need be.

 

 

 

togetherShow love, understanding, empathy and compassion. Listen when people share their feelings, struggles and challenges with us. Let us talk them into seeking professional help not your /their pastor. Yes your pastor, he too is human, sometimes God isn’t talking through him, especially when he asks you to sow your rent money as seed. Those of us active on social media should please chill on the ‘’no chill’’ mindset , because someone’s life may depend on it, we saw the case of a guy who was at the edge, he talked about hanging himself and someone generously offered to get him a rope, another urged him to go on and not bother his peace.

 

you are not alone

 

 

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