“One out of four Nigerians has mental health disorder”

mental health

A consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Oluwafunmilayo Omisakin has said one out of four Nigerians has mental health issues while also disclosing that most mental health disorders are medical-related.

Omisakin made this known at the 19th annual conference of Christ Hospital Ministry, Nigeria where she spoke on, “Guarding Your Mental Health.”

Christ Hospital Ministry is a Christian non-denominational charity registered that was first registered in the United Kingdom before it came to Nigeria.

The organisation supports vulnerable people especially those suffering from long-term illnesses.

It also provides practical help for young people with mental health challenges and helps rehabilitate them after they have been discharged from the hospital.

At the 2020 conference of the organisation which held on Saturday, December 5, Dr. Omisakin who was the guest speaker underscored the importance of medical intervention for cases of mental health.

She said over the years, many with such issues have been treated through medical intervention while also not disputing the efficacy of prayers.

While defining health as stated by the World Health Organisation, as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; she noted that many Nigerians are at the risk of mental disorder.

She said, “Many people think those who walk naked on the street are the only people with mental disorders. This is not so. Those are extreme cases. There are many with mental problems who walk around like normal human beings. Statistics show that one out of four Nigerians has mental disorder.”

One of the early signs in people with mental problems according to her is that “the person becomes restless and finds it difficult to concentrate. They are unable to function as normal human beings. They may find it difficult to contribute meaningfully to the development of society. They may have persistent memory loss especially in the elderly and are unable to sleep well over a long period of time.   The person may also change behaviour,” she stated.

Giving further insight, Omisakin disclosed that there are social, biological and psychological factors that lead to mental health disorders in people.

She said “many develop mental health challenges when they take hard drugs. This is one of the commonest causes of mental disorders. But beyond that when someone has a head injury, the person may be prone to mental disorder.

“The news we hear every day also affects our mental health. So, we advise that people should avoid negative news as much as possible. Coming from a family line that has a history of mental problems could also be the reason some have the problem. Those who are going through stress, financial loss or they have lost loved ones are also prone to mental disorder.”

Without mental health, Omisakin said, “there is no health,” adding, “Mental health is the state of our wellbeing, our emotion, feelings, and thought”

To forestall cases of mental disorder, she counselled that people should stay connected with friends and family members.

“Being connected to family and friends helps a great deal in preventing mental health disorder. We should also volunteer for community services, spend time to read inspiring books. It’s good we watch inspiring movies. We should have confidants. We should have people we can talk with when we are overwhelmed and seek help when going through challenges.

“We should avoid hard drugs and avoid head injury. We should treat physical disease promptly and do regular exercise and medical check-ups.”

She said, “It has been discovered that when we do exercise, there is a happy hormone that is released into our system which helps to enhance our mental health.”

Omisakin counseled believers to stay connected to their source. “Medical science has also found out that those who draw inspiration from God are not likely to have mental health issue. Medically it has been proven that those who pray before the procedure for surgeries often have a better outcome.”

She debunked many of the myths surrounding mental health issues while also insisting that mental health disorder is not the end of a man’s life. “There are many people who have had issues with their mental health but who have survived it. Many of them have been treated and they are now doing well. Some of the issues we see as spiritual problems are not necessarily so. Many of them can be explained medically and can be treated.” She stated.

Despite the preponderance of mental health cases in Nigeria, Omisakin noted that medical personnel in that direction are few. “We have lost many of our doctors to foreign hospitals because of the high demand for psychiatrists globally. Those on the ground in Nigeria are grossly inadequate. If we are to make impact in that direction, there is a need to encourage more people to the field. There is also the need to equip the  available psychiatric hospitals ”

The yearly conference was chaired by Barr. Kehinde Akinwunmi.

Pastor Bayo Akinjiyan ministered at the event praying for those who have been bound by sickness and diseases to be set free.

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