Mental Health: A Need For Awareness

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Mental health problems are on meteoric rise across the globe. I read an interesting article which identified mental health disorders as the fifth leading cause of death and disease worldwide. Interestingly, Nigeria, along with China, North Korea and Japan were the four countries mentioned to have low burden of death and disease from mental disorders.

This could be due to the fact that the average Nigerian mind races to madness (psychosis) probably inflicted on a person by haters from his or her village, when mental health is mentioned. Many fail to realise that alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, sleep issues, emotions such as anxiety and depression, levels of stress, self-harming and suicide are all linked to mental health.

As a result, very few Nigerians pay attention to their mental health. Judging with what is happening right now, one can predict that mental health issues of Nigerians, especially the youths will skyrocket in the next five to ten years. And this should be seen as a major public health concern.

Before you start critiquing this; I am yet to research on this so I have no raw data to back my claims hence this is just an opinion, observation or assertion.

Nigerian youths are faced with numerous problems in our country today. From joblessness (unemployment) through relationship/marriage problems to alcohol and drug abuse etc. And these can do serious damage to one’s mental health.

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First, parents put a lot of pressure on their kids to study and become a doctor, engineer or lawyer. Many may lack the abilities and capabilities required to reach the educational goals set by the parents and in the end, become stressed, anxious and depressed or may resort to drug abuse/alcoholism to take the pain away.

Then, if one scales through these hurdles and graduates, one enthusiastically applies for numerous jobs as many believe their job defines them and earns them respect. If unsuccessful after a long search, one may lose confidence and self-esteem.

Unemployment can take a huge toll on a fresh graduate’s pysche. The stages of unemployment are initial shock, depression and finally adjustment. Depression may cause them to isolate themselves from friends and family.

Next, the never-ending pressure on a young Nigerian lady, from family and society, to marry and have a family. Although many claim unfazed, being single may increase the risk of developing mental health problems in adulthood.

Nevertheless, ending a relationship/marriage through separation, divorce or death may also cause an increased risk of mental health disorders. Relationships are hard-work and often drains one’s emotional energy. People may be happier whilst married or in relationship but the effects on mental health once separated by death or divorce may be far worse than being single.

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It is never easy when a relationship/marriage ends. The breakup can trigger negative emotions, such as sadness, hate, disappointment and depression, which one may never recover from. The more break-ups one has, the more his/her mental health  progressively deteriorates.

Emergence of social media hasn’t helped either; it has increased comparison, cyber-bullying, restlessness, glamorization of sex, drugs and alcohol use and crowd mentality amongst the youths to appear cool. People put more pressure on themselves when they see achievements of others thereby elevating their stress levels, anxiety and depression. If they feel they are falling behind, they may make matters worse by turning to drugs or alcohol.

Mental health issues can prevent one from living his/her dream, starting a family or becoming useful to his nation. And this should be treated as a serious health scare. Mental health awareness should be made to safeguard emotional wellbeing of Nigerian youths.

Thank you for making out time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please comment and share your views on this issue. Also, do like, share and follow the blog.

Divorce: A Trend In Nigeria Now?

“Everybody seems to be getting married and the unmarried ones seem to be getting more worried.” That’s a tweet from one of the numerous people I follow on the social media, Twitter.

My friend, Mikael gave me the shock of the year so far on my birthday. He told me he wants to settle down with his girlfriend after just three weeks of dating.

Mikael and Valerie met at a birthday party in February and they hit it off. Mikael is one of those guys girls describe as tall, dark, handsome and rich while Valerie is a nymphet with a sexy British accent to say the least.

When he broke the news to me, I was non-plussed and speechless for a while. As a matter of fact, it took me two minutes to recover from the shock.

“Are you serious” I asked him. He told me, the lady is a British citizen, sexy, educated and from a well-to-do family. What else does he need? Although he didn’t say the words, it was obvious he’s settling down with the babe because of her physical attributes and rich background.

I’m really worried for my dear friend because a wise man once told me “Do not marry while too young, for you have not experience enough to train your son; nor be too old, that you have not the patience. There is a mean in marriage, as in all things”

“No man is the same after marriage. Either his joys are doubled and his sorrows halved, or his joys are halved and his sorrows doubled.”

Honestly, the rate at which young people say “I do” is becoming worrisome not because marrying at a young age is a bad thing, NO but because the rate at which they marry is directly proportional to the rate at which they separate and just like the wise man said, there’s a mean in all facets of life.

Call me old fashioned but I believe marriage should be for better, for worse till death parts the couple. Nowadays, people are in a hurry to walk down the aisle, same way they are in haste to separate when one squabble comes along.

In 1969, United States Governor, Ronald Reagan of California signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill to eliminate deceit associated with the legal regime of fault-based divorce. A decision he later described as one of the biggest mistakes of political career. The new law eliminated the need for couples to fabricate spousal wrongdoing in pursuit of a divorce;

Thirty years later, the myth of the good divorce has not stood up well in the face of sustained social scientific inquiry — especially when one considers the welfare of children exposed to their parents’ divorces.

The children are often the victims when parents separate/re-marry. They are forced to watch their parents fight themselves in court for their custody. Children from divorced are often if not always troubled. The role of a father and mother as a team in the life of a growing child can never be over-emphasized so they need to stick together even if they don’t get along anymore, just for the sake of the kids.

Due to civilisation and imitation of western culture, divorce is on the rise in our dear nation. Most young men seem to believe the only aim of marriage is for pro-creation while others succumb to the pressure from their girlfriends,via pregnancy or otherwise to put a ring on her finger and legalise their coitus.

Then, there are the desperate ones especially the females, who plunge into the pool of marriage with their make-up on, polluting the pool as a result.

Most people crumble under pressure,the pressure from some families has made a lot of people miserable because they ended up with people they weren’t supposed to end up with it.

There is also a group that believe in fantasy/fairytale of marrying early and growing up with their kids so they rush into what they aren’t ready for, all in a bid to have that “happily ever after” life.

We need to understand that marriage isn’t a “boyfriend/girlfriend” issue. Marriage is sacred, a union blessed by God, who detests the word, divorce. (Malachi 2:13-16; also read Matthew 19:9 & Ephesians 13:4)

There’s no rush when it comes to marriage, take your time to know your partner inside and out, know what he/she likes and dislikes, make sure you can cope and live the rest of your life with his flaws as well as he’s ready to live with yours.

Marriage needs maturity, understanding, wisdom, endurance and tolerance to cope with the hitches that come with it.

Always remember, marriage is not about what happens at the wedding but what happens after the wedding.