Dr. Maymunah Kadiri, a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Medical Director, Pinnacle Medical Services, has advised Nigerians to form the habit of going for quarterly mental health check-ups to ensure their mental wellbeing.
She bemoaned what she described as the unfortunate reluctance of a majority of Nigerians who feel that only the mentally challenged should go for mental health evaluation.
According to her, the Nigerian society acts as a culture medium for organisms that put people at risk of mental illness.
The neuropsychiatrist stated that the disturbing effects of insurgency, kidnapping, and general insecurity, economic downturn amongst other challenges facing the country currently, had left lots of 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.
She claimed that every Nigerian and indeed all humans are susceptible to mental illness as there is no immunity to mental illness, stressing the need for the prioritization 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 underscored the need for Nigerians to change their mistaken beliefs and mindsets that only mad people needed psychiatric and psychological services or were expected to go to psychiatric hospitals.
She further explained that people who react negatively to minor issues, such as losing documents in their workplaces or exhibiting irrational behaviours, needed psychological or psychiatric evaluation, adding that in some cases, individuals might not even know they were 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 are 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 behaviour.
“This is a misconception and wrong belief that needs to be corrected,” she said.
Kadiri, therefore, admonished the public to create time to visit psychiatrists on regular basis to ensure their mental stability.