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Mental Health- A Neglected Phenomenon

Mental Health- A Neglected Phenomenon

When the issue of mental health disorder is raised, what immediately comes to mind, is “madness”. We immediately create an image of a person, who is naked and unkempt and is oblivious of the things happening around his/her environment. Unfortunately, this is only but an aspect of several mental disorders. Research has it that there are 200 forms of mental disorders, some popular ones are depression, bipolar, anxiety disorders, and several others.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), mental disorders comprise a range of problems, with different symptoms. They are characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotional behaviors, and relationships with others. Mental disorders might be caused by stress, genetic factors, or biochemical implications. It is not necessarily caused by the intake of hard drugs. So not everyone with a mental disorder takes hard drugs. 

The level of ignorance concerning mental health is very high in Nigeria. Mental illness is often presumed to be a spiritual attack, which makes religious leaders the first persons to consult. In 2017, WHO disclosed that about 7 million Nigerians suffer from depression not to talk of other disorders. If you go to the streets to interview people and ask questions about their mental health you will discover that 4 out of ten people are battling a form of mental disorder that they are not even aware of. According to health experts, the rapid growth of mental disorders in the country is majorly caused by a lack of awareness.

A lack of understanding of the root causes of mental disorders is a major roadblock to their treatment. It is sad to note, that many health personnel do not have the proper orientation as to the cause and treatment of mental disorders, especially in rural areas. Another problem is lack of financial support, some people cannot even afford therapy sessions and thus making them resort to spiritual help alone.

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In order, to tackle this problem, governmental and non-governmental organizations should organize workshops and programs to educate people on mental disorders, especially in rural areas. Health seminars should be organized for health personnel to educate them on the causes and treatment of mental health disorders. Therapy sessions shouldn’t be that expensive taking into consideration the poor masses. Since the media is one of the fastest means to spread information, filmmakers should make educative movies on mental health disorders. Orimogunje’s film “for Maria Ebun Pataki” takes on an untouched topic in Nollywood, it allows viewers to witness the realities of mental health.

You must take care of your mental health, as they say, “health is wealth”.

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