According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Mental health and substance use disorders affect 13% of the world’s population. Mental and behavioural disorders affect people of all countries and societies, regardless of age, gender and income and it is also common in Nigeria. There is still considerable neglect of mental health in Nigeria, and those who visibly suffer from mental illness are largely stigmatised. 

An estimated 20% – 30% of the Nigerian population are believed to suffer from mental disorders, with  WHO’s  report that claims that about 20 million Nigerians suffer from mental illness of which a good number of them do not seek professional assistance.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of one’s life, if an individual experiences mental health problems, their thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, like life experience, family history or even biological factors such as genes.

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There are several early warning signs that could indicate that you or someone around you is living with mental health problems. One can experience one or more of the following feelings:

  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Yelling or fighting 
  • Experiencing severe mood swings 
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • 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
  • Suicidal thinking

If you have any signs or symptoms of a mental illness, see your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own, and if untreated, a mental illness may get worse over time and cause serious problems. 

If your loved one shows signs of mental illness, have an open and honest discussion with him or her about your concerns. You may not be able to force someone to get professional care, but you can offer encouragement and support. You can also help your loved one find a qualified mental health professional and make an appointment. You may even be able to go along to the appointment.

You can search for professionals who specializes in mental health closest to you and book an appointment on the carekojo app. Download on Google playstore, or visit carekojo.com to sign in from the website.

Please get the help and care you need!!!