Mental awareness simply entails bringing to public notice as well as educating the masses about mental health. And a mentally aware Nigeria is a Nigeria where its populace has full knowledge of the various mental illnesses and their causes and work towards achieving a positive mental health status. Globally, a week was set-aside in 1990 for mental awareness by the United States Congress to acknowledge the tireless contribution of the National Alliance on Mental illness in public enlightenment about the concept.
Nigeria joins the rest of the world from October 6th, 2019, to October 12th, 2019, just as it’s done annually to celebrate the mental awareness week. In Nigeria, there are lots of people experiencing mental health problems which can be caused by various elements. It could be from either life experiences, family history of mental problems or biological factors.
Those with depression for a while now are being discarded as lonely and need an impel to forge ahead. However, people often time, have no regard for people suffering from anxiety and degenerating self-consciousness. And those who committed suicide are just tagged as recreants or cowards.
Frequently occurred mental health conditions experienced in Nigeria
Nigeria for a long while has been faced with predominately two most occurred mental health issues. These issues are believed to have resulted through many factors which can be economic, societal, environmental, social-economic factors among others. The frequently seen mental illness in Nigeria includes the following.
1) Mood Disorder
A mood disorder is a form of mental disorder that is peculiar to Nigerians. This form of the disorder is majorly seen in adults and the consist of health issues which result in one not being able to regulate his/her mood. Mood disorder is characterized by bipolar depression, depression, among others.
2) Anxiety Disorder
This form of mental disorder is being characterized by different health conditions. Although it’s also believed that the majority of people who suffer from this form of mental disorder are mostly adults. Anxiety Disorder consists of many cases starting from, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, certain phobias, post-traumatic disorder among others.
Signs of Mental Illness
Most Nigerians, especially those who are experiencing one mental illness or other, find it difficult to understand the concept. It’s proven that mental illness comes with various initial signs in which when discovered, can be checkmated to avoid triggering into a more complex condition. Though for the purpose of clarity, the followings are a list of some of the initial signs of mental illness as it relates to Nigerians.
- Constant yelling or fighting with friends, neighbors or family
- The unusual distancing of oneself from people
- Drinking, using drugs and smoking incessantly
- Irregular eating or sleeping pattern
- Exacting mood shift without justifiable cause
- Thinking of hurting oneself or others
- Distancing oneself from people regular activities
- Deteriorating energy
- Experiencing constant voices and thoughts on unimaginable things
- Exhibition of unusual characters like being angry, worried, scared, forgetfulness among others.
The concept of a mentally aware Nigeria
In Nigeria, it’s really very difficult to talk to people on the subject matter. The creation of mental awareness in Nigeria has enough positive connotations to it as it tends to educate Nigerians to keep a positive mental health state. A mentally aware Nigeria is a Nigeria that is not ignorant of the need to take their mental health seriously. Furthermore, mental awareness in Nigeria makes sure that Nigerians become aware that in combating mental illness, there is a need to uphold the following.
- Have a positive mindset towards things
- Try to learn more about mental health
- Encourage each other
- Ability to rest well
- Endeavor to grow their coping skill
- Be up and doing
- Coexist peacefully with each other
- Endeavor to consult a specialist when the start experiencing its initial signs.
Positive effects of a mental aware Nigeria
The positive effects of mental awareness in Nigeria are unquantifiable. Just like physical illness, mental illness can be prevented, treated and cured as well. Although based on its nature, it tends to require more time in other to obtain close to 100% cure. Mental illnesses patients only need encouragement and “a path at the back” to reassure the person of being loved. There are so many positive effects in the creation of mental illness awareness, and the among others includes:
- Reduce/stop the stigmatization of victims
- Reduce unnecessary medical expenses
- Increase work performance rate
- Reduction in the rate of suicide
- Reduce/stop discrimination of victims
- Help Nigerians to keep their mental health in tiptop shape.
- Help Nigerians to cope with the stress of life
- Promote efficiency in overall use of resources
- Help to strengthen the government’s active involvement in mental health
- Promotes effective and efficient social care services all over the country
- Contribute to increasing the rate of information systems and research for the prevention of mental health
A mental aware Nigeria is a positive attribute and any action towards that should be eminent. It’s of utmost importance to adopt all measures to help the mental awareness movement to end stigma, depression and other mental health-related issues. Nigerians in this regard should take their mental health issues topmost importance so as to ensure a healthy, effective, efficient and fulfilled life.
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