OJO Oluwatobi – Nigeria

  • September 4, 2020 at 3:37 pm #2716
    Huong Nguyen

    OJO Oluwatobi Matthew
    Assignment 3
    1. Please write a short paragraph of fewer than 300 words on your definition of mental health from a youth’s perspective
    Mental health could be defined is the state of functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustments. It means the state of completeness of social, emotional, psychology and mental wellness devoid of mental breakdown or emotional crackdown. It could mean being undaunted regardless of pressure from work, life, relationship or societies issue, and being able to find balance between all these. According to the World Health Organization mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others”.
    How has it made you feel about the concept of mental health?
    As youth, it is important that the issue of mental health is considered as an important issue to be addressed in one’s life. Many are faced with pressure of workplace (and in others- unemployment, as unemployment is on the rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic), the daily pressure that comes with managing relationship with loved ones (and some cases of those that felt not loved), the life and buzz of social media and being good examples to young ones and the community at large.
    Have you experienced mental health challenges in your past or do you know of someone who has or is ongoing mental health management challenges? Tell us their story (you may be anonymous or use fictional characters, we respect our privacy and of those around you)
    I have not experienced mental health issues before, but however, I had a friend with a mental health challenge. Her story is chronicled below.
    Sola was from an average home in Nigeria. With a strong determination from her parents to give formal education to all their wards in spite of their low economical situation, she gained admission into the University to study a course she was particularly not interested in, but had to accept due to the difficulty encountered in securing the admission in the first place. Along the line, she lost interest and focus. She began to withdraw from everyone and managed to stay on her own. She failed woefully in the exams and she couldn’t score up-to the cut off market required to progress to the next class, her admission was revoked. This made her further slipped into depression, as she contemplated suicide as the only way out.
    How was it managed? If at all?
    A mental awareness initiative got in touch with her, and offered her a therapy session. She was advised to be in close contact with loved ones, while working towards securing another admission with her desired course of study. She’s doing perfectly well today.
    2. In your opinion, is mental health management necessary in society?
    Yes. Mental health management is necessary in the society. Mental health determines every of our actions-how we behave, relate and think. All these are important in making the society free and safe for all as well as improving productivity and maintaining a positive state of well-being. Also, management of mental health helps those deficient to seek help without recourse to stigmatization .
    What are the signs and symptoms that someone is experiencing mental health challenges
    Signs and symptoms of mental health may vary depending on conditions and individuals. Some may include:
    Feeling sad or down
    Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
    Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
    Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
    Withdrawal from friends and activities
    Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
    Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
    Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
    Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
    Problems with alcohol or drug use
    Major changes in eating habits
    Sex drive changes
    Excessive anger, hostility or violence
    Suicidal thinking
    Source: (Mayo Clinic)
    Do you believe that these signs and symptoms are more common in their communities or are they seen as the typical signs and symptoms of mental health worldwide? Why?
    Signs of symptoms of mental health varies according to conditions, disorder and circumstances with different causative reasons. However, these symptoms are common worldwide.
    3. The common statement is that mental health management especially among youth is a developed world problem and not an issue that affects developing countries. Is this true or false? Please provide an explanation and possible examples.
    This school of thought is absolutely false. Nearly one fifth of the global population is comprised of youth aged 14-24 years, with 85-90 per cent of this group living in low-income countries (Fisher and Cabral de Mello, 2011; Sawyer and others, 2012). The low and middle income countries (LAMIC) are well spread across all Africa, much of Asia and South and Central America, East Europe, and the Island of the Pacific. Although, statistic may show higher rate of mental health in high income countries, however this doesn’t negate the fact that mental health issue is for the “rich”. Stigma associated with mental health issues especially in Africa might have led to under reporting of mental health issues in Africa. According to WHO, neuropsychiatric disorder accounts for 9.8% of total burden of disease in LAMIC. Unipolar depressive disorder accounts for 3.1% of the total burden of disease attributable to non-communicable conditions in LAMIC; this disorder is the leading neuropsychiatric cause of burden of disease. Self-inflicted injuries account for 1.5% of all deaths in LAMIC. (Lopez et al., 2006)
    People who live in the poor income groups, those who are less educated, those who are faced with acute economic difficulties (for example, consequent to unemployment), those who face debt, and those who face hardships in acquiring basic necessities (such as food) for survival, are at much greater risk to suffer mental disorders. In turn, the disabling effects of mental disorders impair the ability of persons to search for and sustain productive employment. Furthermore, between 40 and 50% of mental health care costs are borne out of pocket in LAMIC. The rising tide of suicides and premature mortality in some countries, as seen in the alcohol-related deaths of men in Eastern Europe, the suicides of farmers and weavers in India, the suicides of young indigenous peoples in southern America and the suicide of young women in rural areas in China, can be at least in partly linked to rapid economic and social change (Patel et al., 2010).
    4. What do you think are the main reasons for Mental Health issues among youth in developing and least developed countries?
    There are arrays of reasons responsible for mental health issues among youths in developing and least developing countries. Some of these reasons may differ from one community to another while some are similar to all. Most people are likely to suffer from more than one of these factors. These factor include:
    childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect
    social isolation or loneliness
    experiencing discrimination and stigma
    social disadvantage, poverty or debt
    bereavement (losing someone close to you)
    severe or long-term stress
    having a long-term physical health condition
    unemployment or losing your job
    homelessness or poor housing
    being a long-term carer for someone
    drug and alcohol misuse
    physical causes – for example, a head injury or a neurological condition such as epilepsy can have an impact on your behaviour and mood. (It’s important to rule out potential physical causes before seeking further treatment for a mental health problem).
    Source : (Mind Org)
    Do you think the issues are less or more severe than in developing countries?
    Some of these factors are most likely to cause mental health issues in developing countries, especially economic issues than in developed worlds. Unemployment and debts are likely to result in mental health issues among youths in developing countries.
    5. Do you think social media has an impact on Youth Mental Health?
    Research has shown that social media has impacted lifestyle of youths. Frequent use of social media have been associated with various mental issues such as depression, body shame, and bullying. Many youths are living in the illusion that many of their peers are living large and doing better than them due to picture on social media are quick to fall depressed, while cyber-bullying has also contributed to a high rate of self harm and injuries. The recent trends of fake sexual harassment accusations on social media has led to death of many young people through suicide. Many has taken to use of alcohol and drugs due to peer pressure and lifestyle of their favourite celebrities on social media.
    In a recent study of over 400 youth who were psychiatrically hospitalized due to risk of harm to self or others, a small but meaningful proportion of youth reported viewing online content that promoted suicide (14.8%) or self-injury (16.6%) during the two weeks prior to their admission (Nesi&Preinstein, 2015).
    How are your community leaders dealing with it?
    A lot of community-based organizations has been founded to deal with mental health issues amongst youths in the society. Also, a lot of organizations has also taken advantage of social media and technology to provide support and care for victims of mental health. Mental awareness Inititative has leveraged on social media to track victims with suicidal thoughts on social media and provide care and support for them.
    6. Is there decent access to mental care for youth in your country?
    Relatively, there has been an improvement in access to mental care in Nigeria of late. However, access is no where near the desired level. A lot of mental health issues are still unreported while there are shortage of Mental health care personnel.
    Do you think youth seek the help of mental care officers first when they have mental health issues? Are the officers being active in helping the youth?
    Due to Limited access to proper mental health care facilities, many youths do not seek help when dealing with mental health issues. Also, there is still a low awareness on mental health in developing and least developed countries. Many people still hold the belief they are immune to mental issues, and that it is a problem of developed world.
    7. Please write a paragraph of 400 words or less on whether your government is taking into account mental health management. Give suggestions on what changes you as a youth would advocate for. List a few steps you are willing to undertake as a youth to fight for change in terms of mental health.
    Existing policy, legislative and institutional framework in Health System Governance in Nigeria has revealed a complete exclusion of Mental health in key health sector. However, the Mental Health policy has shown an improvement in response to mental health management in Nigeria. The Mental health policy was as adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1991. The policy enabled metal health services to be provided at the grassroots of health services which is the primary health care centers across the federation. However, the implementation of the policy has been mild. At present, only the National government provides sort of mental health care through Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospitals and University Teaching Hospital psychiatric departments. Some States have psychiatric hospitals, and some Federal Medical Centres have a psychiatric department. The focus of all these services is in large cities, which makes access to care difficult for the majority of the population. Facilities and personnel to avail mental health services at the local level -primary health care services have not been provided/not been up-to required standard. As a matter of fact, these institutions are regarded by most people to be only for people with extreme mental illness. According to statistics, “there are less than 150 psychiatrists in the country (around 1 per 1 million population) and very few neurologists with many newly trained specialists leaving the country to work abroad. There are around 5 psychiatric nurses per 100,000 population and only very few other mental and neurological health professionals like clinical psychologists, social workers, neurophysiotherapists, and occupational therapists. The systems that support delivery of services are currently weak, with poor availability of psychotropic drugs and lack of incorporation of mental and neurological health measures in health information systems” (National Health Policy). These numbers are underwhelming for a grossly populated country like Nigeria where 60% of the population are made of up of youths.
    The Federal Government of Nigeria needs to develop an holistic approach to implementing the National Health Policy, which will enable primary health care center to provide mental health services effectively. Facilities and personnel required should be put in place for the achievements of this purpose. Also, a public-private partnership should be encouraged, where private hospital and clinics are equipped to provide mental health services as well.
    As a young person, I have realized many are afraid to seek mental health care due to stigmatization from peers and the society. There is need for proper awareness on mental health, and the need to encourage and show support to those battling with mental health.
    8. Highlight a role model in your life who was battling with mental health and is a survivor. Explain in depth what makes this individual unique to you as a youth. Tell us their story on how they overcame mental health and the lessons you derived from their history.
    Anita Alaire Afoke popularly know as Real Warri Pikin is a comedienne, OAP, Actor and Influencer in Nigeria. She has shared her story of overcoming depression countless times through various platforms to encourage young people on need to seek mental health care when faced with depression and other mental illness. As a young woman with kids and no stable source of income. She was in heavy debt in 2018 and couldn’t afford to foot some bills after a deal worth millions which she went in with her husband went bad. She attempted suicide on June 6 2018 due to the pressure, but she survived and was hospitalized. After becoming stable, she found succour in the comfort of her family, and began her therapy session. She leveraged on the pain and suffering to carve a niche for herself by going into comedy. In her words, “today I thank God for the pain that gain me strength and the depression that gave me Inspiration. There won’t have been a REALWARRIPIKIN without everything that happened” she said. She further revealed comedy gave her another shot at life and achieving her dreams. She has ever been an advocate of mental health care.
    To me, Anita situation is a reflection of what an average Nigeria youth goes through. With economic hardship and unemployment/underemployment, many are liable to cave under the immense pressure of economic hardship. How she has taken advantage of the situation to turn around her story is quite commendable and inspiring. It showed the true Nigerian spirit of undaunted faith, believe and courage.


    1. Ask your panelists about their view on mental health. Have any of them personally experienced Mental Health Issues or know anyone who went through the same and recovered? What are the lessons from these stories?
    None of the panelists has experienced mental health issues, however one person shared an experience of someone, who had mental health issues and suffered from depression, she didn’t seek help, and became overwhelmed with the depression, which led her to suicide. The lesson drawn from this experience are enormous, and most importantly is to seek help immediately, before the situation overwhelms the victim.
    2.Lead a discussion on the most common mental health issues among the youth in your country.
    The most common mental health issues in Nigeria are depression, trauma, and drug abuse. These may arise due to a number of factors not limited to financial instability, relationship problems. Unemployment has also been seen as a major reasons for depression in most young people in Nigeria.
    3 Do your panelists think youth have equal and enough access to mental health care services? What are hindrances for a youth in your country from access to this service?
    All the panelists agreed to the fact that access to mental health service is seriously lacking in Nigeria. The facilities and personnel are not readily available, and when they are available, are expensive for an average Nigerian to afford. Also, ignorance is also a major factor in the hindrance to access to mental health care. Many people still nature the believe that seeking mental health care is being a “mad person”.
    4. Do they feel as though they receive mental health services as frequently? Should youth find their own way to overcome mental health challenges or should they lean to external services? Give options on the type of services that can be offered.
    All of the panelists have never received mental health care. There were divergent opinions on ways youth should overcome mental health challenges. However, It was generally agreed that people diverse from each other, and what works for someone might harm another person. It was advised ,, either option chosed, should be seek. Talking to a close friend, loved ones, or therapy session with a professional are examples of option that can be adopted .
    5. What are their suggestions to Kectil on raising awareness and educating the youth on the topic Mental Health? What do you think you as a Kectil Colleague can do to combat Mental Health in your communities?
    Coperate bodies, intergovernmental organizations and non-profit organizations should join in the advocacy for mental health management in Nigeria. Adequate attention should be paid to the health sector to function effectively. Also, mental health education should be taught at all level to increase awareness and public enlightenment. Mental health should be incorporated in all National health related policies, planning and strategies.
    6.Briefly introduce the actionable points derived from the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 (World Health Organization). Do your panelists think the plan is feasible? What has been accomplished this far?
    The panelists are of the opinion that, the action plans are feasible with strict implementations and collaboration across all stakeholders, especially in areas that requires legislation.
    Some of the accomplishments so far includes adoption of mental health policies in National Health planning and strategies. Also, there has been an increase in the level of awareness raising and institutional capacities to deal with mental health challenges.

    Lopez A, Mathers C, Ezzati M, Jamison D, Murray C. Global burden of disease and risk factors, 2006. WashingtonOxford University Press and the World Bank
    World Health Organization. , Mental Health, 2005GenevaWorld Health Organization
    Google Scholar
    Patel V. Leon D, Walt G. Poverty, inequality and mental health in developing countries, Poverty, Inequality and Health, 2001OxfordOxford University Press(pg. 247-262)
    Google Scholar
    Nesi J, Prinstein MJ. Using social media for social comparison and feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with depressive symptoms. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2015;43(8):1427-1438
    National Policy for Mental Health Service Delivery. (August 2013).

    September 26, 2020 at 12:57 pm #2887
    Godwin Okoduwa

    Impressive write-up. Well done, Ojo Oluwatobi. This was very insightful.

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