Expert dispels myths on mental health challenges

A Mental Health Advocate and Coach, Dr Maymunah Kadiri, has dispelled the myth that mental illness has spiritual undertone, adding that the sickness belongs to the category of non-communicable diseases.

Kadiri, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, made the assertion on Wednesday at a sensitisation programme of 9mobile, a Telecom giant, held online and streamed on the @healthertainer Instagram.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, sponsored by 9mobile, is in continuation of the company’s sustained efforts toward creating awareness and sensitising the public on health-related issues.

The health talk, the fifth edition of its series, had the theme of discussion focused on “Mental Health; The Myth, The Challenge and Recovery’’.

The psychiatrist highlighted the myths around mental health challenges and importantly, what the recovery process entailed.

She described mental health as the ability to be productive, fruitful and able to give back to the society.

While dispelling some of the myths, she remarked that mental illness did not have any spiritual undertone as people were made to believe, particularly in our clime.

“Mental health belongs to the category of non-communicable diseases,’’ she said.

According to her, one in every five persons in Nigeria has mental illness, with data showing that mental illness starts before the age of 14 in some instances.

“Everybody has mental health but not everybody has mental illness which is a medical condition as it were.

“ It will therefore, be correct to conclude that nobody has immunity against mental health disorder,” Kadiri said.

Enumerating some of the stress factors that could trigger mental illness, the mental health advocate said there were other probable factors responsible for the disorder associated with social economic factors.

“Some of the risk vulnerability factors include; death of one’s parent or loved ones, divorce in families, domestic violence and positive history of mental illness.

“Others are societal pressure, which can be attributed to the harsh socio-economic realities in the country.

“It is important to appreciate the fact that mental illness is real and therefore, seek for ways to address the challenges than living in self-denial.

“There is good news and there is bad news about mental illness: The good news is that it is beatable, treatable and manageable with help readily available for quick recovery.

While the bad news is that the longer it takes to seek medical help, the more complicated it can become,’’ Kadiri said.

Mr Abdulrahman Ado, the Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, represented by 9mobile’s Public Relations Lead, Ms Chineze Amanfo, reiterated that more attention should be paid to mental health challenges, particularly among the productive population.

“Mental Health is a critical issue that needs attention. 9mobile will continue to bring the issue to the fore to promote a healthier and safer society for all.

“Therefore, we are excited that the health talk series for 2022 has kick-started on a very impactful note, with emphasis on mental well-being which is paramount for optimal productivity.

“This is one of the reasons we focus on health as one of our strategic corporate social responsibility,’’ he said.


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