Seven Mil­lion Nige­ri­ans Have Men­tal Re­lated Ail­ments, Says Ex­pert

THISDAY - - NEWS - Vic­tor Ogunje in Ado Ek­iti

A prom­i­nent med­i­cal con­sul­tant and Chair­man of the So­ci­ety of Fam­ily Physi­cians of Nige­ria, Ek­iti Zone, Dr. Ola­bode Shabi, has said that about seven mil­lion Nige­ri­ans are cur­rently suf­fer­ing from men­tal health prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with stress and de­pres­sion.

In his de­liv­ered pa­per ti­tled ‘Stress and De­pres­sion in Work­place: Strate­gic ap­proach to man­age­ment’ pre­sented in Ado Ek­iti at a lec­ture or­gan­ised by the In­for­ma­tion Chapel of the Nige­rian Union of Jour­nal­ists in Ek­iti State, Shabi de­scribed stress as an ex­ag­ger­a­tion of nor­mal phys­i­cal re­sponse to events and life chal­lenges that make a per­son feel threat­ened or up­set in some ways adding that de­pres­sion is a com­mon men­tal health prob­lem af­fect­ing 29 mil­lion per­sons in Africa out of an es­ti­mated 322 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide.

Shabi who is also the Chief Con­sul­tant, Fam­ily Health of the Fed­eral Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal, Ido Ek­iti, iden­ti­fied ma­jor causes of stress in work­place to in­clude “am­bi­gu­ity in the job schedule of work­ers, ca­reer de­vel­op­ment pres­sure, poor work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, lack of job se­cu­rity, fear

of re­dun­dancy and early re­tire­ment, strug­gling to meet un­re­al­is­tic tar­gets, poor in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with the col­leagues and su­pe­ri­ors as well as low trust level and lack of prob­lem shar­ing among work­ers.”

Stress­ing that no hu­man be­ing has ab­so­lute im­mu­nity from de­pres­sion un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances, Shabi high­lighted ma­jor symp­toms of the con­di­tion to in­clude “per­sis­tently sad moods, loss of plea­sure in usual ac­tiv­i­ties, feel­ing of help­less­ness and guilt or worth­less­ness, fa­tigue or de­creased en­ergy, loss of me­mory and con­cen­tra­tion, loss of de­ci­sion-mak­ing

ca­pa­bil­ity, poor ab­stract rea­son­ing, rest­less­ness, ir­ri­tabil­ity, sleep dis­tur­bance and loss in ap­petite or weight.”

The SFPN Zonal Chair­man listed ma­jor causes of stress­ful life con­di­tions to in­clude low lit­er­acy level, poverty and short life ex­pectancy and neg­a­tive life events such as be­reave­ment, job loss, fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, di­vorce, lone­li­ness, child­hood abuse and ne­glect, med­i­cal ill­nesses and ex­po­sure to chronic pains as well as im­bib­ing some men­tally stress­ful life­styles such as mis­use of cer­tain pre­scrip­tion drugs and abuse of sub­stances such as co­caine, nar­cotics and al­co­hol as causes of de­pres­sion out­side the work­place.

He iden­ti­fied strate­gies for man­ag­ing stress to in­clude avoid­ing un­nec­es­sary stress, re­duc­ing job stress by im­prov­ing emo­tional in­tel­li­gence, cre­at­ing time for fun and re­lax­ation, bet­ter man­age­ment of one’s time, be will­ing to com­pro­mise, re­frame prob­lems, fo­cu­son pos­i­tive things, ac­cept­ing things one can­not change, shar­ing feel­ings with friends, re­solv­ing con­flict pos­i­tively, adopt­ing healthy life­styles, ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly, eat­ing healthy diet, avoid­ing al­co­hol, cig­a­rettes and drugs re­duc­ing su­gar and caf­feine as well as get­ting enough sleep.

Ear­lier in his wel­come ad­dress, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary of the Ek­iti State Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion, Youth and Sports De­vel­op­ment, Mr. Kola Aju­mobi, ad­vised work­ers to pay more at­ten­tion to their health to re­duce their chances of be­com­ing vic­tims of Sud­den Death Syn­drome.

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