By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Experts have stepped up sensitization of Nigerians on issues of mental illnesses and substance abuse which affect mental health, revealing that there are over 300 diagnosable mental illnesses.
This was brought to the fore at the Summary of Mental Health Awareness Training of Trainers – WDCs and FHCs, held in Kaduna.
“Some mild, some moderate and others severe. Majority are the mild and the moderate, which constitute about 80% while the severe ones are the remaining 20%,” Dr. Auwal Sani Salihu said, while briefing the press on the outcome of the meeting.
He said that the signs and symptoms of the severe ones include – hearing things other people don’t, seeing things other people don’t, etc when the person is fully awake.
“Having abnormal believe – like Some people are persecuting the person with any evidence, having special abilities and identities without any evidence, aggression, restlessness, poor sleep, talking alone and laughing alone etc,” he added.
Dr. Sailhu said that health definition by the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes mental health along with Physical and Social wellbeing. Therefore ‘No Health without Mental Health.
“We are all vulnerable to mental illnesses. 1 out of 5 individual suffer from mental illness. Males and females, young and old, all societies all cultures have mental illnesses.
“While for those with mild to moderate – Depression, anxious, persistent doubtfulness, pains, sleep problems, sexual problems, forgetfulness, conduct problems etc
“Causes of Mental illnesses are multiple which include: Genetic, Environmental, Trauma, Infections, Drugs, Parenting style, Stress etc Overall Mental illnesses are viewed as Brain Disorders due to scientific evidences confirming that.Mental illnesses are treatable,” he said.
According to him, there can be prevention of mental illness through the promotion of mental health hygiene, identification and treatment of mental illnesses, rehabilitation and drug abuse prevention and treatment of those with it.
He lamented that stigma, which involves stereotyping and discriminating those with mental illnesses, their relatives and even those treating them can hinder seeking help, treatment and rehabilitation.
The training was part of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH) Kware Sponsored Northwest Wide Public Mental Health Awareness Campaign.