THEY LIVE WITH US: More than 95 per cent of those suffering mental illness are not in the hospitals, US-based Nigerian Psychiatry expert, Dr. Andy Newton, opens up during Platforms Africa’s e-Discourse on the Naira Crisis, petrol scarcity, toxic election campaign, and effects on mental health of Nigerians + all you need to know about mental health
What is your assessment of the state of mental health in African, that is those living on the continent?
The State of the Mental health in Africa is dire. The idea that Mental health is not same as physical health makes it easy to ignore
Nigerians are faced with issues of cash crisis, fuel scarcity, poverty, and elections. Can these affect mental health conditions of the citizens?
Depression is the commonest form of mental illness. However, people dont know because sufferers are not outside. The chronic stress caused by governmental policies made it more severe. One terrible consequence is SUICIDE. Let it be known there is no suicide without underlying depression.
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A train-bus crash in Lagos that led to the death of six people on Thursday has been blamed on the bus driver who was reported to have refused to heed pleas by passengers for him to wait for the moving train to pass first before him. What could be going through the mind of the said driver?
There is what we called Homicide by Suicide. This isvthe reason why commercial bus drivers, pilots and train operators are regularly tested to make sure they are in right state of Mental health. Few years ago a pilot deliberately crashed the passenger plane in the French Alps.
Does mental health have anything to do with this?
It is 200% mental health. A classic case of Murder Suicide. In this case multiple murders. Millions are already in that state.
Must someone be a patient at a psychiatric hospital before he or she can be said to be mentally unhealthy?
Most mentally ill individuals, more than 95 per cent, are not in the hospitals. As a Psychiatrist in The USA, I see close to 30 patients daily in the clinic. Less than 0.1 percent of my patients are in Psychiatric units. see close to 30 patients daily in the clinic. Less than 0.1 percent of my patients are in Psychiatric units.
What are the symptoms of mental (health) illness?
For Depression, feeling sad and empty, poor concentration, lack of drive and motivation, poor sleep, lack of energy. Recurring thoughts of suicide. A condition called Anhedonia…..this is a lack of interest in previous pleasurable activities. Social Isolation. So please check on your friends. Very Effective cheap medications are available.
In Bipolar illness, the condition vacillates between depression (low mood) and mania (high) mood. In mania individuals are exceptionally hyperactive happy and cheerful. They engage in behaviors where they try to do high projects and spend money they dont have. THEN they crash to low mood.
We have anxiety disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, the schizophrenias, etc
Is mental illness hereditary?
Mental illness is genetically inherited with complex interplay between Genes and the environment….NATURE AND NURTURE.
Environment can trigger genetically silent mental illness.
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What are the tips for Nigerian nay Africans to manage mental health, particularly at a time like this (during cash, Fuel Crisis, and a tough election that has divided people along the class, ethnic, and religious lines).
Thank you very much for this question.
The current crisis in Nigeria is critical, and people should not be too despaired. Here are the tips to a better mental health at a time like. 👇
1. Check on your friends and loved ones, please.
2. Lend a helping hand
3. Join community events.
4. Talk to doctors about your inner feelings.
5. Share your troubles with others.
This too shall Pass.
6. Above all, without hostility or violence, hold elected officials accountable.
This edition of e-Discourse, a weekly event organised by Platforms Africa, a forum created by award-winning African journalist, Adeola Yusuf, is moderated by Accra, Ghana-based veteran journalist, Francis KOKUTSE