By Saheed Ibrahim
Stakeholders have called on government at all levels to tame the surging economic frustration in the country, saying it has worsened mental ill-health in Nigeria.
The stakeholders spoke with The Hope in commemoration of World Mental Health Day 2023.
Recall the President of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), Taiwo Obindo, said in 2022 that more than 60 million Nigerians are suffering from mental illnesses.
The Health Lead of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Ondo Network, Morayo Itiolu said that the current hardship occasioned by fuel subsidy removal had worsened depression and other mental health issues in the country.
The Public Health expert said youths majorly suffer mental health issues, calling on the government to provide job opportunities and social amenities in the country.
“People will hardly get frustrated and will be focused on making a living for themselves but when these things are not there and with the current economic downturn in the country, mental health cases will increase.
She called on government to create more facilities that cater for mental health of citizens, where people can go to seek help without being judged or stigmatised.
Itiolu also said organisations and individuals must all create awareness about mental health in the society.
The Communication Coordinator, Red Cross Society, Ondo State, Adedapo Adeboye said it was important to raise awareness about mental health as many Nigerians battle mental health issues.
Adeboye said many people do not take cognisance of their mental health and this had exacerbated mental health issues in the country, adding that people commit suicide because they could not get help.
While saying health professionals and psychologists must treat mental health issues as important, he called on the government to look into issues such as economic downturn, insecurity and increasing cost of living that affect the mental health of Nigerians.
Also, the Ondo State Coordinator of the Coalition of Nigerian Youth on Security & Safety Affairs (CONYSA), Mr. Osewa Adesina Vincent said insecurity and economic hardship have affected the mental wellness of Nigerians.
He suggested that the government should add mental health into school curriculum. “We should look at it from the root. We should have topics related to mental health in our school curriculum. When children acquire knowledge about managing mental health from when they are young, it gives them the capacity to manage it when they are grown.”
He said “depression is real and a mentally-stable person will not go into crime or other social vices in the society. The removal of subsidy has affected a lot of people. Government must implement measures to stem down economic hardship in the country.