Mental health or Illness is not a topic that is really discussed here in Nigeria which is very sad. According to recent figures from The World Health
Organisation (W.H.O) 7,079,815 suffer from depression (3.9% of the nation’s population) and another 4,894,557 (2.7%) suffer from anxiety and other forms of mental illness .
When you add this lockdown into the equation you find out that those numbers double or triple overnight and some that had mild cases of mental illness go from bad to worse. The problem is already pretty obvious. But to make matters worse, most people in Nigeria are not even aware that they’re not alright mentally talk more of seeking treatment for themselves.
The only way some people get some form of therapy is by talking to and being around other people, unfortunately due to the lockdown they don’t have that too. The paranoia, insecurity and economic hardship caused by the lockdown also led to the rate of attempted suicides increasing and people’s anxiety levels shooting through the roof.
Increased domestic violence has also become a bye product of lockdown, because most victims of domestic violence have been found to have one form of mental illness or the other, the only reprieve they get is when the abuser leaves the house but unfortunately that is not possible these days because of the lockdown.
Nigeria as a country needs to wake up and really look into the area of mental health because it is almost too late, we have become a nation of zombies just waiting to either drop dead or flare up at the slightest thing because of the unresolved issues we’re hauling around.
We as a country need to view mental illnesses with the same seriousness we view physical ones before it overwhelms us. People need access to therapists and necessary medication before it gets the best of them.
By Zainab Abdullahi