By Gabriel Olawale

Across All Initiative for Mental Health and Stigma Eradication has admonished officers of Nigeria Police Force and lecturers in high institutions to be strategic in dealing with people they come across in the process of discharging their duties as some of their actions and utterances may trigger mental health issues.

Speaking in Lagos during a capacity building forum for media practitioners on mental health reporting, Executive Director, Across All Initiative for Mental Health and Stigma Eradication, Seun Dosunmu, said that the way and manner police officers and lecturers talk down on people and students most times fuels anxiety and depression – major contributors to mental health disorders.

“Imagine a situation whereby a lecturer is telling students they can never pass their course or threatening that if they don’t buy a text book they will fail? In another instance, some people become depressed as soon as they see Police.

“Asking a simple question like ‘what did I do ‘ and some police officers will start harassing citizens. You hear words like ‘if I shoot you nothing will happen.”

Dosunmu called for reorientation of the police officers and lecturers saying that some of their behaviour maybe a result of their upbringing.

“This is a national issue and we need to address it tactically because both the police officers and lecturers come from a family and their parents might have abused them in the early stage which might affect the way they react or behave as adults.”

He expressed concern over delay in signing the mental health bill to law because it will help to achieve proper care, policies and support system.

Dosunmu hinted that his organisation has been driving conversation on mental healthcare over the years.

“Umak Fitness & Wellness is one of our partners this year because we believe fitness and exercise have a way to help people manage emotional imbalance, help to build confidence and also boost immunity.”

Corroborating his views, a Psychotherapist, Dedoyin Ajayi urged Nigerians to take time out of their busy schedule to rest.

“It is sad that most people don’t see resting as important, but resting does help the brain and mind to refresh and remain healthy. It’s pertinent we realize that this our body system works like a car that require service through resting and healthy living.

She regretted that many people genuinely need the service of mental health therapist but couldnt afford the charges, “we use to have clients that want to do mental health therapist genuinely but they cant afford it. Some therapist charge as low as N2,000 per session, but yet some people cant still afford it. So am appealing that people should consider ‘give away’ in area of mental health therapist section.”


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