JCI Ibadan, expert urge Nigerians to focus on their mental health

A Senior Registrar at the Department of Psychiatry at the University College Hospital (UCH), Dr Isaac Alakeji on Friday said the emotional wellbeing of Nigerians should be a priority for the government.

Alakeji said this while giving a lecture on Mental Health Awareness with the theme “Emotional Wellbeing For National Prosperity“ organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ibadan Chapter.

Alakeji said: “The government at all levels need to come up with an all-inclusive programme to cater for the needs of Nigerians in the aspect of their mental health.

“A good government should concentrate on the mental health of its citizens but unfortunately African government is not doing so.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. Health is not only in the physical domain as many think. Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities.

“How they can cope with normal stress if life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

“Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, express emotions, interact with each other, learn a living and enjoy life.

“Mental health is not only the absence of mental disorders or symptoms but also a resource supporting overall well being and productivity.

“Mental health creates mental capital which is very vital.”

He noted that economic crises have mental health effects, adding that mental health problems have increasingly significant economic effects as well.

“About 14 per cent of the global burden of disease have been attributed to neuropsychiatric disorders mostly due to the chronic disability native of depression and other common mental disorders, alcohol use and substance use disorders,” he said.

Alakeji said that good population mental health contributes to economic productivity and prosperity making it crucial for economic growth.

“Good sleep is required. Our brain needs to replenish itself and reboot for it to function optimally. Invest in human relationships, our social network should be strong.

“Exercising regularly will release chemicals and that are good for mood. Avoiding drug abuse is also very important,” he said.

He, however, advised that people should seek help when needed.

“Do not hesitate to seek help if you are not coping well emotionally or for your family,” he said.

The President JCI Ibadan, Adeola Adelabu enjoined everyone to take care of their mental health with utmost priority.

Adelabu said that it’s only when someone is in a good state of mental health that they can function well in all aspects of their life.

“This is an aspect of our life that needs to be taken seriously and I want everyone to give it all the attention needed,” he said.

The International Vice-President, JCI Tetiwe Nzimah from Zambia said that COVID-19 has further worsened people’s mental health.

Nzimah said that the mental health of people is very vital.

“If leaders are not in a good mental health state, they can’t lead right. Mood swings, eating disorders and personality disorders are among mental health issues.

“We will continue to work with organisations that are willing to make the community where people’s mental health is in good shape.

“In Zambia where I came from I can say that COVID-19 has brought about a high rise in suicide. If we don’t work on this we would wipe out the youth who are the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.

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