• Friday, June 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Your mental health is imperative

kadiri-2

kadiri-2
Studies have shown that mental health challenges manifest in 1 out of every 5 children and adolescents in schools, including elementary/primary schools, high/secondary schools, as well as universities and other higher institutions; the resultant effect being, a direct adverse impact on learning and academic performance. Like a lot of other medico-social issues in Nigeria, Mental illness is an “800pound Gorilla in the room”. That issue that carries a lot of weight or needs to be reckoned with- everyone knows about it, but no one wants to talk about it.

When a typical Nigerian hears the word “mental illness” his/her first thought would be madness or some sort of aggressive behaviour.

No! Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions-disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behaviours. They include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours.

1 in every 4 people 1 in every 4 people in Nigeria is depressed. Our society is a culture medium for the organisms that puts one at risk of developing a mental illness – poverty, child abuse, broken homes and broken marriages, financial problems, traumatic experiences, etc. About 64 million Nigerians have one form of depression or the other. Mental health awareness in Nigeria is very low, making it difficult for people to access health care or get diagnosed or even acknowledge the fact that they may be suffering some kind of mental health issue. There is a considerable neglect of mental health issues in the country.

How do we even get involved with this theme when most of us haven’t come to terms to what we are suffering. Majority do not even believe that depression is real. If we dare to share our stories we would be called “crazy” or “attention seeker”

May I kindly implore thee, kind Nigerians, please…when a brother/sister cries for help, subtle or loud as the case may be, we should find a way to show them love and get them help. We have a long way to go, but together, we can get there!

KnowIT App

With 1 in 4 Nigerians having mental/behavioural health (mental health or substance use disorder) condition, Pinnacle Medicals Speakout Initiative, Nigeria’s leading mental health advocacy organization, developed the KnowIT app to aid individuals in quick self assessment of their state of mind. Studies in Nigeria have revealed prevalent rates of about 20-28% for diagnosable psychiatric conditions in the general population. This means that there are, at least, 25 million people who would benefit from mental health services in Nigeria.With less than 200 qualified Psychiatrists for a 180 million Nigerians, this means we have 1 per 1 million as compared to 1 per 10 thousand in the UK, there is a need to aid in the accessibility of self tests, that help to measure the healthy state of mind and if not, encourage the visit to a trained therapist/counsellor/ psychologist/psychiatrist.

Other facts include: 1 Psychiatric nurse per 50 thousand Nigerians, there are 0.02 Clinical Psychologist per 160 thousand Nigerians, less than 3% of Gross Domestics Product is budgeted to health and less than 1 % goes to mental health and the cost of untreated mental illness to the Nigerian economy is estimated to run into billions of Naira every year.

What Should I Do?

1. Download the app

2. Use the app

3. Share your personal experiences on mental health issues, its healthy.

4. Encourage friends and family members to download, use the app and share their experiences.

5. Incorporate mental health into your regular health check-ups, just like going to the dentist.

6. Remember that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, not a separate category. Hence, the saying “Health is Wealth and there is NO Health without Mental Health”

Pinnacle Health Radio

It is a fact that internet content consumption is rapidly growing in Nigeria and the online space is an emerging market due to better tools and technologies available to support it. As data infrastructures gets better, more online users will be so much eager to consume more data anytime and anywhere on any internet enabled device. Pinnacle Health Radio is a one-stop online health radio under the management of Pinnacle Medical Services, a duly registered company in Nigeria. Pinnacle Health Radio is a health and wellness radio station positioned towards providing up-to-date quality information, through educating and entertaining programmes, that enables the listeners make well informed choices that promotes a better quality of life.

Over 21 Million Nigerians are living with one form of mental health challenge. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 20 percent of these people have got access to any form of treatment whatsoever, while a greater percentage will remain in hiding mostly due to stigmatization and ignorance. Our action plan is to change attitudes that lead to discrimination, increase level of awareness of the general public on early detection and intervention of mental health issues, with a view to ultimately improving human capacity and resources by giving priority to mental health. This has informed our choice of launching the Mental Health App, “KnowIT”, which is an interactive app for assessing your psychological and mental health status on the go, Africa’s first Health radio, PINNACLE HEALTH RADIO on www.pinnaclehealthradio.com and our movie “PEPPERSOUP”, which aims at showing how individuals can be dependent on and/or addicted to alcohol and other drugs and substances, without knowing. This is a real life story from a real Nigerian, and it is geared towards creating the much needed awareness on drug abuse in our society, especially amongst our youths and the corporate working class Nigerians.

The movie “Pepper Soup” follows the normal life of a celebrity/professional played by eccentric Nollywood star, Denrele Edun and his eventual misbehaviour. The movie reveals how people are subject to substance abuse from eating at random public places. Pepper Soup” is the first in a series of advocacy films by Pinnacle Medical services and as part of the campaign in creating awareness on mental health. Other Nollywood stars are Beverly Osu, Layole Oyatogun, Lisa Omorodion, Lilian Afegbai, an International Kenya model, Brian Stevenes, and more.

 

MAYMUNAH KADIRI
Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist, MD/CEO, Pinnacle Medical Services