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Develop mental health evaluation habits, neuropsychiatrist urges Nigerians

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A Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, has urged Nigerians to develop the habit of going for mental health evaluation quarterly to ensure their mental wellbeing.

Kadiri, the Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.

She decried what she called the poor attitude of Nigerians toward their mental health, saying that the majority of them perceived mental health evaluation as being exclusively meant for those with mental challenges.

According to her, Nigerian society is a cultural medium for organisms that put people at risk of mental illness.

The neuropsychiatrist said that the devastating effects of insurgency, kidnapping, general insecurity, economic downturn, and other challenges currently facing the country had left several people in need of psychiatric evaluation.

Kadiri pointed out that most victims of rape and kidnapping suffered high degrees of trauma, which could also affect their mental health.

According to her, every Nigerian and indeed all humans are prone to mental illness because there is no immunity to mental illness, stressing the need for prioritisation of mental health assessment and screenings among citizens.

“Every individual, irrespective of status, background, tribe, or religion, is expected to access such services, at least, once in three months.

“This is because every human, irrespective of class, faces one societal ill or the other as well as stress and other challenges that can affect his/her mental health.

“Such challenges are predisposing factors to depression and anxiety, and can lead to suicide, if not properly checked,’’ she said.

The neuro-psychiatrist stressed the need for Nigerians to change their misconceptions and mindsets that only mad people needed psychiatric and psychological services or were expected to go to psychiatric hospitals.

She explained that people who react negatively to trivial issues, such as misplacing documents in their workplaces or exhibiting irrational behaviours needed psychological or psychiatric evaluation.

Kadiri said in some cases, individuals might not even know that they are facing challenges.

”This is where the psychiatric evaluation comes in, to help identify the problem and render early intervention before the situation escalates.

“Mental health evaluation and maintenance culture in Nigeria is very low, thus making it difficult for people to access healthcare, get diagnosed, or even acknowledge the fact that they may be suffering from some kind of mental health issue.

“When a typical Nigerian hears the word ‘mental illness,’ his or her first thought will be madness or some sort of aggressive behaviours.

“This is a misconception and wrong belief that needs to be corrected,” she said.

Kadiri, therefore, urged the public to make out time to visit psychiatrists on regular basis to ensure their mental stability.

(NAN)ag

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