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Bauchi – not Lagos – is the most stressful city to live in Nigeria – Study

Nigeria’s most stressed citizens are surprisingly those who live in Bauchi (87.4%), according to new research.

As part of the World Mental Health Day activities, a health technology company, WellNewMe, released a report comparing the stressfulness of the living environments across the different states in Nigeria.

The new poll on the stressors of city life polled all 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) using seven equally weighted variables were considered: violent crime rates, GDP per capita, income inequality, corruption perception, unemployment rate, environmental pollution, and life expectancy

The new survey also found that the top half is dominated by Northern states with Gombe(86.9%), Kebbi (79.3%), Yobe (77.5%), Kogi( 77.0%), Sokoto( 75.2%) and exception of Cross River (74.8%), which came in at the 7th position, and Ebonyi(68.0%) which came in at 12th. At the other end, Anambra had the least stressful living environment with 26.1%, followed closely by Imo (32.0%) and Ogun (35.6%).

According to the researcher, Obi Igbokwe, chief executive officer (CEO) of WellNewMe, “a surprise position in the rankings was that of Borno( 56.8%), which not only featured in the bottom half of the rankings but was second to Benue(50.5%) from the Northern states and the best-ranking state from the North-East zone which currently still suffers from the insecurity created by the Boko Haram terrorist group. However, the North East region is on average the most stressful region of the country, while the South West is the least stressful region.”

“We used the Bloomberg model to find out which were the most stressful environments amongst the states. The indicators have all been shown to have direct correlations with the amount of stress individuals are likely to experience and we sourced the data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program, and Kingmakers.com.ng.,” he said.

Igbokwe explained that the states were then allotted points for each variable based on their relative position in that category’s ranking noting that the state with the least-stressful measure for each variable received 0 points, while the state with the highest stress level received 100 points. All other states were scored depending on their position between the two extremes.

“Points for the seven variables were averaged for a final score from 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating a more stressful living environment,” he said.

He continued “The importance of such reports is that it allows regional governments to be proactive in developing and implementing policies that could help reduce the risk of mental health issues given the clear lack of resources that many have available to deal with it.

“The delivery of healthcare these days has gone beyond the four walls of health facilities to an integrated health system, which at its core a patient-centric model, based on robust primary care and public health management, that also addresses socioeconomic indicators that after population health,” said Igbokwe.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of WellNewMe further said that stress can cause mental health problems and make existing problems worse. One survey of recent studies found that people who had stress related to their jobs had an 80% higher risk of developing depression within a few years than people with lower stress.

Adding that mental health problems can cause stress. Some people might find coping with the day-to-day symptoms of their mental health problems, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, heath care appointments, or treatments, can become extra sources of stress.

“This can start to feel like a vicious circle, and it might be hard to see where stress ends and where the mental health problem begins.

It also gives some credence to the Bloomberg report as Nigeria has Africa’s highest caseload of depression, and ranks 15th in the world in the frequency of suicide, according to World Health Organization (WHO). The health body also estimates that one in four Nigerians – some 50 million people – are suffering from some sort of mental illness,” he said.

Igbokwe stressed that Nigeria is not adequately equipped to deal with the problem as there are less than 150 psychiatrists in this country of 200 million, and WHO estimates that fewer than 10 percent of mentally ill Nigerians have access to the care they need.

“With the lack of mental health staff and facilities, persistent underfunding and poor societal attitudes towards mental illness, Nigeria faces a mental health crisis making reform of its mental health law that is in keeping with international standards an urgent need to drive change.

“It is also important to tackle the factors that were highlighted, that by addressing factors which might expose people to persistently high levels of stress that increases the risk of mental health issues,” he
said.

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