A psychologist, Dr Motunrayo Oyelohunnu, has advised Nigerians to increase efforts towards staying mentally healthy.
She gave the advice during an interview with Daily Trust in Abuja. Dr Oyelohunnu, who is also the Medical Director, Olive Prime Psychological Services, Abuja, said that the attitude of Nigerians to mental health has improved over the years but still remained low, adding that people often equate mental health with mental disorders.
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According to the psychologist, “People need to individually invest in their mental health. Firstly, they can do so by improving their knowledge base. There is a lot of misconception and myths out there, despite the availability of veritable sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s website and many other reputable international and local organisation websites on mental health.
“So we need to start arming ourselves with the right information from the right sources and that will help us to understand ourselves and also to help other people undergoing mental health issues.
“Secondly people need to prioritise their mental health; they should not just be running after money but take time to rest, sleep well, and reach out when they start having or experiencing unusual symptoms.”
The expert added that with the right information, people could provide psychological first aid to others in the need of it without being mental health specialists.
She said early warning signs of mental health challenges include poor sleep, reduced appetite, loss of concentration, people feeling the loss of energy, sad and having anxiety symptoms. “When you feel that all is not well, or you are particularly going through life stresses, you need to reach out,” she advised.
Dr Oyelohunnu, called on government and other stakeholders to provide more mental health centres and access to affordable mental health services.