Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has called on Nigerians to pay close attention to their mental health as much as they do to their physical health says it is medically possible for someone to appear physically fit but mentally sick.
Speaking during a press conference organised by Orunsii Wellcare Foundation in collaboration with the Office of the Lagos State First Lady, Sanwo-Olu re-emphasized the need for people to prioritise healthy lifestyles.
She lamented that despite the importance of mental health, its awareness is abysmally low, thus necessitating a deliberate measure towards bringing to the front burner the pertinent factors relating to mental illnesses in Nigeria.
“People should pay close attention to their mental health as much as they do to their physical health. The truth is, it is medically possible for someone to appear physically fit but mentally sick.
Sanwo-Olu explained that the staggering reality certainly pointer to the fact that all hands have to be on deck towards improving the help-seeking behaviour for emotional disorders amongst Nigerians and ultimately to de-stigmatize mental disorders in the country.
“It is commendable that Orunsii Wellcare Foundation, set up to promote and support projects that are focused on uplifting the wellbeing of the people, is taking the lead through its flagship project tagged: “Mental Health Awareness, De-stigmatisation and Enlightenment (MHADE) in Lagos State.”
“Aside the enlightenment campaign, the Foundation has also lined up a special training programme for volunteers and field officers, with the overall objective of playing up the huge burden and multidimensional effects of Mental Health on individuals, families and communities. “The truth is people have different ways of responding to factors that have the capacity to trigger mental disorders. For instance, during the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we had the Mental Health of a lot of people declining to the lowest ebb, which resulted in worrisome spike in rape cases, domestic violence, and other anti-social behaviours.
Corroborating her views, Chairman of BOT, Orunsii Wellcare Foundation, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo said that the focus of the Foundation not only centre around mental health but issues that disturb the vulnerable groups in the state, “some of the issues we are dealing with include drug abuse, elderly care, child fostering.
He hinted that their intention was to make life more meaningful for the vulnerable in the state, “there are so many people that are suffering major or minor mental health disorders but they do not know.
“This project will in the pilot Local Governments identify what is the prevalence of mental health in the state so as to guide policymakers going forward.
challenges with the use of alcohol and other substances while 40 per cent of people who need help for their mental health do not know where to access quality care.
“Mental health applies to every single one of us. It is our psychological and emotional well-being. It is the way we think and feels on the inside which manifests in our behaviours and shows in our ability to function within the family, occupationally and socially.
“So, in a nutshell, we all have mental health and our ability to maintain optimal mental health is a function of our emotional resilience. our ability to bounce back from life’s adversities is what differentiates us from the person who comes down with a mental health condition.
“No one is immune to the effects of neglect of their mental health. This project, MHADE in Lagos aims to provide support when needed by our friends, families, and colleagues.”