By Gabriel Olawale
EVERY Nigerian and indeed all humans are prone to mental illness because there is no immunity to mental illness. Consultant, Neuro-Psychiatrist and Physiotherapist, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri who disclosed this to Health & Living, noted that despite various success in science, no vaccine can prevent mental health related problems.
Kadiri,who is Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services, Lagos, urged Nigerians to take their mental health serious,spoke at the unveiling of Pinnacle Health Online Radio, Mental Health App and Mental Health Movie Peppersoup,cautioned that symptoms such as prolonged days of sleeplessness, depression, stress, lack of happiness, sudden loss of interest, anxiety disorders and low energy level may signal mental health problems.
“One or two days of not sleeping well is not a problem but when it becomes prolonged, you need to find out why. If you are not happy for more than two weeks there could be a problem. If your energy level goes down or you suddenly lose interest in what you normally do, find out what is wrong,” she urged.
Noting that about 64 million Nigerians have one form of depression or the other, Kadiri said the Nigerian society is a culture medium for organisms that put people at risk of mental illness. “These include poverty, child abuse, broken homes and broken marriages, financial problems, traumatic experiences, etc.” She said in some cases, individuals may not even know they are facing challenges and this is where family support comes in, to help identify there is a problem and to seek help.
“Researches have shown that one out of four Nigerians will have a mental health related problem in their lifetime and we have less than 200 qualified psychiatrists for 180 million Nigerians. This means we have 1 psychiatrist per 1 million people.” She regretted that stigmatisation still remains a big issue in Nigeria.
“When a typical Nigerian hears the word ‘mental illness’ his or her first thought would be madness or some sort of aggressive behaviour. But no, mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions-disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behaviours. “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.
She hinted that aside from the new film titled, Peppersoup which is aimed at showing how individuals can be dependent on or addicted to alcohol and other drugs and substances without knowing, Pinnacle Medicals Speakout Initiative, have also developed the KnowIT app to aid individuals in quick self assessment of their state of mind.
“We have also initiate Pinnacle Health online radio to help in providing up-to-date quality information, through educating and entertaining programmes that enables the listeners make well informed choices that promote a better quality of life.”