Feeling like you’re stuck in a funk? Like life’s got you down in the dumps and you just can’t seem to shake it? Hey, we’ve all been there. But here’s the thing – you don’t have to go through it alone. Today, we’re tackling the elephant in the room: mental health stigma in Nigeria.
The State of mental health awareness in Nigeria
Let’s face it. Mental health hasn’t always been a hot topic in Nigeria. In fact, it’s been shoved under the carpet for years. But the truth is, it’s about time we started talking about it. According to research, Nigeria has the 15th highest suicide rate in the world, and a major contributing factor is poor mental health. Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are real and they affect a lot of people in our society.
So, why are we still stigmatising mental health?
Without mincing words, we’ve been conditioned to believe that mental illness is a weakness or a character flaw. We’re quick to say someone is “mad” without realising the harm we’re causing. We’re quick to dismiss someone’s struggles as “all in their head” without realising that, sometimes, the mind can be a dangerous place.
The clarion call against mental health
The fact is, mental health affects everyone. It doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, religion, or social class. It’s time for us to start treating it as such. We need to start talking about it openly and without shame. We need to make sure those who are struggling have access to help, support, and understanding.
Here are some ways we can address the stigma around mental health in Nigeria:
1-–Educate ourselves and others:
Learn about mental health and how it affects people. We need to understand the signs and symptoms, and why people might be suffering. By educating ourselves, we can help to break down the stigma and create a more understanding society.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, speak out. Talk to someone you trust and seek help. You’re not alone, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
3—Seek professional help:
There are mental health professionals in Nigeria who are trained to help people with all kinds of mental illnesses. If you’re struggling, reach out to a professional who can help you.
If someone you know is going through a tough time, let them know you’re there for them. Offer a listening ear, a kind word, or whatever they need to feel supported.
5—Challenge the stigma:
Challenge the negative attitudes and beliefs around mental health. Speak out against harmful language and behaviour, and encourage others to do the same.
Mental health is a serious issue and it’s time for us to start taking it seriously. We need to create a society where people can talk openly about their struggles without fear of judgement or ridicule. By addressing the stigma around mental health in Nigeria, we can help to create a more supportive and understanding society for everyone.