Lately, reported cases of people committing suicide across the country have been on the increase. Already, while many in the Lagos area took to jumping into the lagoon from the bridges, so many other frustrated persons in other parts of the country adopted several other means to take their own lives.
This unfortunate trend has, therefore, become a source of serious concern to mental health experts, who have attributed the development to the current economic hardship confronting Nigerians, businesses going bankrupt, job losses, worsening unemployment, social hardship, failed marriages and relationships, among others.
These socio-economic problems have, no doubt, had negative impact on the mental health of their various victims and others.
According to the World Health Organisation, the positive dimension of mental health includes one’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts. It is the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and providing the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.
But a person struggling with mental health may experience disorders because of financial and physical stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, death of a loved one, suicidal thoughts, grief, addiction, various mood disorders, or other mental illnesses of varying degrees, as well as learning disabilities.
A United States-based medical expert, Dr. Oluwadamilare Ajayi, says low finances are the most common factor that have led to extreme depression and loneliness in many people, making it impossible for such individuals to be able to realise their potential. At the same time, they won’t be able to cope with the normal stress of life nor work productively and fruitfully.
“Such a person is not also able to make a contribution to his or her community. Its impact on mental health is related directly to the lifestyle and choice of that person, as well as human interaction and social relationships,” he said.
Ajayi notes, however, that the health impacts of mental health disorders are many, but a major impact is depression, which has the symptoms of eating or sleeping too much or too little; pulling away from people and usual activities; having low or no energy; feeling numb or like nothing matters; having unexplained aches and pains; experiencing a feeling helplessness or hopelessness and having thoughts of self-harm or death.
He says that the people at a high risk of this disorder include adults, especially within the working bracket, who are stressed out with avoidable daily challenging situations and also people with underlying health conditions.
Ajayi adds that in order to prevent this kind of mental health disorder, people should seek psychological evaluation from specialists, attend counselling sessions, speak out their worries and connect with family, friends and colleagues at work.
“Staying positive and developing coping skills is a must, if you are experiencing this in a critical period like we have now,”
A clinical psychologist with the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife, Osun State, Dr. Tosin Adebayo, notes that unemployment has been shown to have a negative impact on an individual’s emotional well-being, self-esteem and, more broadly, mental health.
Adebayo notes that increasing unemployment has been shown to have a significant impact on mental health, predominantly depressive disorder, which is an important consideration when examining and diagnosing the triggers for mental health disorders in many
She also says that emotional issues are a leading cause of mental disorders, globally. Such emotional issues, she says, include having a failed marriage, divorce, business and working in a negative environment, “and they are most destructive to low and middle-income countries due to their inability to provide their citizens with proper amenities and aid.”
She notes that despite the modern treatment and rehabilitation for emotional mental health disorders in economically advantaged societies, they still have competing priorities and budgetary
Staying positive and developing coping skills is a must, if you are experiencing this in a critical period like we have now
Adebayo says, “So, in order to improve one’s emotional mental health, the root cause of the issue has to be resolved so that an individual will be able to achieve a positive sense of self-esteem, well-being and social inclusion.
“It is very important to improve your emotional mental health by surrounding yourself with positive relationships. We, as humans, feed off companionships and interaction with other people. Another way to improve your emotional mental health is participating in activities that can allow you to relax and take time for yourself.”