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JayFM News Commentary:  The Need for Nigerians to Care for Their Mental Health

Written by on September 19, 2022

By Joan Davou, News and Current Affairs Department

Today’s news commentary is on the need for Nigerians to care for their mental health.

Recently, there have been concerns about the increasing rate of mental cases in the country raising questions about how Nigerians and indeed, Plateau citizens care about their mental health.

It is important to recognize that mental health is an integral part of health and well-being.

Sadly, it has been neglected in this part of the world.

In an interview, a professor of Psychiatry and former President of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria,  Taiwo Sheikh, disclosed that 90 per cent of Nigerians with mental disorders do not visit healthcare providers for attention and care.

He said that such an attitude had detrimental effects on the individual and society at large.

He urged Nigerians to cultivate the habit of caring for their mental health through regular check-ups and treatment.

Sheikh said that stigmatization, poor recognition and less attention given to mental health in society were factors responsible for such attitude.

In Plateau State, concerns have equally been raised over the increasing number of Psychiatric Disorders.

Like in another part of the country, investigations also show that a significant number of people with mental illness are not treated in many communities in Plateau state, due to the myths and stigma associated with it.

Also, the lack of adequate facilities and personnel in the state has greatly contributed to the upsurge of this illness as there are reports that currently, the only recognized Psychiatric facility in Plateau State is the Jos university teaching hospital which is said not to be enough to cater for the increasing mental health disorder in the state

That notwithstanding, people must be encouraged to come away from ascribing mental health problems to mythical fantasies or ‘dark forces,’ which only create more fear and allows for a genuine medical condition to go untreated.

This calls for greater involvement of the government and other relevant stakeholders in community support through social mechanisms, such as awareness and sensitization Programmes in churches, mosques and community squares in dealing with the problem.

Given the burden of problems both to the individual, family and society, Now is the time for people to begin to pay more and closer attention to their mental health which would include creating better living conditions and environments that support positive mental health within our homes, workplaces and other areas of socialization

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