By Agbonkhese Oboh
Experts have said the world should give attention to people with mental health challenges.
Speaking on the platform of “#31for31#mentalhealthwithdrgbonjubolaabiri”, a Mental Health Awareness campaign, the various experts drew attention to people with mental health condition’s need for support, assistance and appropriate education.
Among the influencers, advocates and medical experts that spoke at the drive were, Busola Dakolo, Segun Awosanya (Segalink), Lanre ‘Eldee’ Daniel, Mocheddah Olateru Olagbegi, Chude Jideonwo, Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi , Folake Falana, Tonia Ojenagbon, Funmi Eko Ezeh, Akin Rotimi, Mohammed Yusuf Suleiman (Mowiz), Jayne A ( Fabmumng), Uche Okoro, Ibilola Olowokere, Gbenga Art Smith, Osasu Edobor, Ayo Sanusi, Steve Akinola ( Steeveane), Olaedo Emelie, Onimisi Adaba, Timi Dakolo, Ayo Vincent.
There were also actors: Kiki Omeili, Chinonso Arubayi, Christian Prince Ochiagah.
Others medical experts included, were Dr Ruth Arumala, Dr Ayobami Aranmolate ( Dr Laser), Dr Damian Avar(Sabi Doc), Dr Tochukwu Macfoy, Dr Linda Osuntade, Dr Femi Oladeji, Prof Sue Verma, Dr Ibukun Adedayo and Dr Adeola Olajide.
The convener of “#31for31#mentalhealthwithdrgbonjubolaabiri”, Dr. Gbonjubola Abiri, a consultant Psychiatrist, and the Medical Director of Tranquil and Quest Behavioral health, Lagos, said: “The Mental Health Awareness Month of May is a time world over that attention is put on people with the conditions to support and educate them about their conditions and put in place policies that ensure they get required assistance.”
She said the campaign drive was necessary “to commemorate the Mental Health Awareness Month of May with a ‘#31for31#mentalhealthwithdrgbonjubolaabiri campaign’ which featured distinguished individuals, experts and leaders of thought who shared their perspectives on Mental Health.
“The goal is to ensure that the conversations around it are normalised and stigma is reduced to the barest minimum and awareness about mental health gain increase with the much-needed attention it deserves.
“This will enable Mental Health discourse to be held by everyone irrespective of their status in society.”
She said the drive had over 40 distinguished individuals from different walks of life and disciplines who spoke on the issue either through their personal experiences of loss, forgiveness, depression, stigma, sexual and gender-based violence.
She added that “very often than not, the conversations on mental health are held by people who suffer from the illness hence, the #31for31 sought to change the narrative that people were ashamed of mental health issues so that the populace could see that distinguished people in the society were not ashamed to talk about Mental Health and seek assistance where necessary.”
The awareness drive with the theme “Kindness”, the doctor said, became pertinent “to change the narrative from how Mental Health is often perceived as a taboo. We also had personal stories during the discussion of how kindness had impacted on mental health.
She noted that issues regarding mental health had taken a back seat, thereby, limiting the needed attention and assistance to those concerned.
The medical expert said “Over time, it has taken a back seat in our conversations. Not much focus and attention has been given to the topic by individuals, the community and even the government.
“In spite of the poor attention, the condition is a significant part of our lives and is a determinant of the quality of life of individuals. The World Health Organisation estimates that 1 in 4 persons at some point in their lives will develop mental health or neurological disorder.
“In addition, about 450 million persons worldwide have the disorder, placing it among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide,” she added.
She identified ignorance and stigmatisation as major factors that had hampered access to quality care for those with the condition.
Dr Abiri said: “About 2/3rds of persons with the disorders who need help do not seek it from a professional due to ignorance, stigma, discrimination or lack of access to care.”
The drive featured a curated set of video clips on Mental Health issues shared on social media platforms of instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the tag #31for31#mentalhealthwithdrgbonjubolaabiri campaign.