Lagos, A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Olurotimi Coker, on Friday called on Nigerians and the Federal Government to adopt measures to reduce stress and depression to avoid suicides and other outcomes.
“There is the need for Nigeria to pay more attention to mental health through a signed bill; the mental health budget should also be increased.
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“Adequate medication, as well as family, psychological, financial and environmental support should also be in place, because these are pathways to recovery for every individual with mental challenge.
“Again, measures for psychological first aid, as advocated by the World Health Organisation, should be in place,” Coker, who works at the Lagos State University College of Medicine, said in Lagos.
The medical expert spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN).
He said that there was the need for the Federal Government to provide more social amenities to reduce stress and depression among Nigerians.
According to him, suicide and other outcomes of mental ill-health are in the increase among Nigerians.
Coker said that Nigerians were facing some socioeconomic challenges that included business failures, high cost of living, poverty and lack of basic amenities.
“This is taking a toll on the mental health of Nigerians; it makes people vulnerable to suicidal tendencies, aggression, violence, indiscipline, corruption and other anti-social behaviours.
“The statistics may not be there, but by observations, people are bottling up their emotions and challenges instead of speaking out.
“There is need for people to speak out; let us not be intimidated and bottle up our anxieties, challenges and frustrations.
“We should learn to share our worries, speak out and seek help, because a problem shared is half-solved,” he advised.
The psychiatrist also said that there was the need to identify individual stressors to deal with among the day-to-day stressors of life, adding that it was important for people to engage in activities that would modulate stress.
“These positive activities include exercise, sporting activities, acquiring additional skills, hobbies such as dancing, gardening, music, reading, story-telling and going on vacations,” he said.
Coker said that the first line for depression management would be therapy and counselling from family members, friends, religious leaders and medical experts.
According to him, an individual should not to wait until he or she is battered, injured or gets nearer to committing suicide, before seeking help.