1. I am honored to stand alongside the esteemed organizers of this event as we gather in Abuja to commemorate this year’s World Mental Health Day. This significant occasion serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of raising awareness and promoting mental well-being within our society. By joining hands together, we showcase our commitment to addressing the challenges faced by individuals dealing with mental health issues. Through engaging discussions, educational initiatives, and community support, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment where mental health is prioritized and destigmatized. It is through events such as these that we can collectively foster a culture of empathy, understanding, and support for those affected by mental health conditions. Together, we can make a meaningful impact and pave the way for a healthier and more compassionate society.
2. While I may not possess the formal qualifications of an expert, my extensive experience as both an Army General and a devoted family man has granted me valuable insights into the realm of mental health. Throughout my military career, I have witnessed firsthand the toll that the demands of service can take on one’s mental well-being. From the pressures of leadership to the traumatic experiences endured on the battlefield, I have witnessed the impact on my fellow soldiers and myself. Additionally, as a dedicated family man, I have witnessed the effects of mental health challenges on my loved ones and have sought to provide support and understanding during these difficult times. Thus, while I acknowledge the importance of professional expertise, I believe that my unique blend of military leadership experience and personal connections qualifies me to contribute to the conversation surrounding mental health.
3. Mental health, undeniably, is a universal human right that deserves our utmost attention and support. It is a fundamental aspect of human well-being that affects every individual, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status. Just as physical health is considered a basic right, so too should mental health be acknowledged and promoted as an essential component of a fulfilling and productive life. Recognizing and addressing mental health issues is not only a moral imperative but also crucial for fostering a thriving society. By ensuring equitable access to mental health services, promoting mental health literacy, and reducing stigma, we can create a world where every individual has the opportunity to enjoy optimal mental well-being. Let us embrace mental health as a universal human right and work together towards a more compassionate and inclusive society.
4. Nigeria’s global ranking in the mental health index has been a matter of concern in recent years. Despite being Africa’s most populous country and having a high burden of mental health disorders, Nigeria lags behind in providing adequate support and resources for its citizens. The World Health Organization’s Mental Health Atlas indicates that Nigeria has a low number of mental health professionals per capita and limited access to quality mental health services. This has resulted in a significant treatment gap, with many Nigerians suffering from mental health issues without receiving the necessary care. As a result, Nigeria’s global ranking in the mental health index remains lower than desirable, highlighting the urgent need for increased investment and attention to mental health in the country.
THE ISSUE OF DRUG ABUSE AND NARCOTICS
5. The issue of drugs and narcotics abuse among youths, and recently among women and girls, is closely linked to mental health concerns. It is disheartening to witness the growing trend of codeine, bromezapam, pentazocin, and valium abuse in these vulnerable demographics. The misuse of these substances poses severe risks to their physical and psychological well-being. The consequences of drug abuse in this context can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or even lead to the development of new ones. Furthermore, it perpetuates a cycle of dependency that hinders personal growth and impedes social integration. It is imperative that we address this interconnected problem by implementing comprehensive prevention strategies, implementing accessible treatment programs, and fostering open dialogue about mental health and substance abuse. Only through collective efforts can we safeguard the well-being of our youth and women, ensuring a healthier and more prosperous future for all.
MENTAL HEALTH: A UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHT
6. Mental health is not just an individual concern; it affects societies as a whole. By understanding the importance of mental well-being and working towards its promotion, we can create a world that values and supports the mental health needs of every individual. So, let us embark on this journey together, exploring the depths of mental health and its impact on our lives.
7. When we talk about human rights, we often think of basic necessities like food, water, and shelter. However, one crucial aspect that is often overlooked is mental health. Just as physical well-being is essential for a person’s overall quality of life, so too is mental well-being. Mental health is not a luxury or an optional extra; it is a fundamental human right that should be accessible to everyone.
8. Unfortunately, mental health issues are still stigmatized in many societies, leading to discrimination and neglect of those who suffer from them. This stigma prevents individuals from seeking help and support, perpetuating a cycle of suffering and isolation. It is time to break this cycle and recognize that mental health is not something to be ashamed of but rather something that deserves our understanding and compassion.
9.. Promoting mental health as a universal human right means ensuring that everyone has access to the necessary resources and support systems. It means providing affordable and accessible mental healthcare services, raising awareness about mental health issues, and fostering an environment where individuals feel safe to speak openly about their struggles without fear of judgment or discrimination.
10. Just as we strive for equality in all aspects of life, we must also advocate for equal treatment when it comes to mental health. Let us work together to create a world where every individual can enjoy the right to good mental health – a world where seeking help for psychological well-being is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness. By recognizing mental health as a universal human right, we can pave the way towards a more compassionate and inclusive society for all.
COPING AND HANDLING MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES
11. Effectively handling mental health challenges requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses various strategies and resources. Firstly, seeking professional help is paramount. Consulting with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, can provide valuable insights, diagnoses, and personalized treatment plans. Additionally, developing a support system is crucial. This entails fostering healthy relationships with loved ones, friends, and support groups who can offer understanding, empathy, and encouragement throughout the journey. Engaging in self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies, is equally important as it promotes relaxation, stress reduction, and overall well-being. Finally, staying informed about mental health through reputable sources, attending educational workshops, and utilizing community resources can enhance one’s understanding and empower individuals to advocate for themselves. By combining these strategies, individuals can effectively navigate and overcome mental health challenges. At this point let me commend the organizers of this workshop Nur foundation.
12. The World Mental Health Day serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of prioritizing mental health and well-being on a global scale. It is a day that brings attention to the fact that mental health is not only an individual concern but also a family concern, societal concern, national concern and a universal human rights concern. Permit me say that most sit tight dictators globally have some semblance of mental disorder. Dictators have a deep sense of entitlement and see themselves as exceptional individuals who deserve admiration, making it difficult for them to empathise with the feelings and needs of others. Dictator often display a consistent pattern of grandiosity coupled with a vindictive nature commonly associated with narcissistic personality disorder. This also applies to leaders or managers in public or private institutions who portray such character and attitude. Such leaders need counselling.
13. The initiatives sparked by this day help break down the stigma surrounding mental health, encouraging individuals to seek support and fostering a more compassionate society. As we reflect on the significance of this day, let us remember that mental health is something that affects us all, regardless of our backgrounds or circumstances. By acknowledging and addressing our own mental health needs, as well as supporting those around us, we can contribute to creating a world where everyone has access to the care and understanding they deserve. Together, we can work towards building a future where mental health is valued just as much as physical health, ensuring that no one suffers in silence.
14. In light of the urgent need to prioritize mental health in our society, it is my sincere hope that this concise address will serve as a catalyst for a broader conversation on this pressing issue. By elevating mental health to the forefront of our national discourse, we can begin to shed light on the various challenges individuals face, the prevalence of mental health disorders, and the importance of accessible and effective treatment options. By fostering a general conversation, we can break down the stigma surrounding mental health, promote understanding, and ultimately work towards creating a more compassionate and supportive society for those struggling with mental well-being. It is time to bring mental health to the front burner and address this critical matter with the attention and urgency it deserves.