Expert wants FG to address poor mental health issues

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By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Abuja, Oct. 10, 2020 Prof. Olu Olatunji, Department of Psychology and Behavioural Studies, Ekiti State University, has called on the Federal Government to pay attention to risk factors that can triggers poor mental health.

Olatunji made the call in an interview with journalists on Saturday as the world commemorated World Mental Health Day, with the theme: “Mental Health for all”.

NAN reports that World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

Prof. Olatunji said some of the factors causing mental ill health include high rate of crime, unstable polity, stress of daily living, socio-economic downturn, invasive technologies, gender and race issues, poor or unequal access to education and basic necessities of life.

“Mental Health is an important dimension of Human health. Other dimensions include Physical, Social and Economic,” he said, indicating that “a global definition of mental health must navigate a fluid contribution of culture, religion, and Socio-Economic concerns.

“A psychological conceptualisation will still recognize some basic ingredients of mental health, such as presence of mental fitness, availability of certain qualities, competencies, and resources,” Olatunji said.

He said health policies are currently too fixated upon combating diseases and researching into therapies and preventive actions loosing much needed attention to health-promotion.

Olatunji said the year particularly introduced a new urgency for the first time in a century occasioned by the Corona Virus pandemic which made its “landfall” on our global shore early in the year.

He said the issue of human health blazes the trail once again ahead of other global concerns.

“The Federal Government should involve deliberate policies on inter-sectoral, and interdisciplinary actions in promoting and entrenching positive view of life and general happiness, social efficiency in accomplishing socially inculcated expectations in relationships and work life, effective personality development aided with positive national value orientation, presence of coherence and consistency in addressing challenges and stressor.”

According to him, “Mastery over the social and physical environments, psychological hardiness and resilience in the face of social, economic and environmental challenges are policies the government should evolve.”

Olatunji said there should be spontaneity and autonomy that enable citizen to take individual responsibilities and act positively being less dependent on government.

He said it was cheaper to promote wellness and mental health, than to treat illnesses and correct social anomalies arising therefrom.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this is the time for all organisations, healthcare professionals and communities to invest in getting mental health in good order or make efforts to do so.

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