A psychiatrist medical doctor based in Australia, Dr Paul Ameh, has advised the Federal Government to take necessary steps to improve and build mental resilience to address increasing mental health challenges among Nigerians.
Mr Ameh gave this advice on Wednesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja against the backdrop of the forthcoming, October 10 World Mental Health Day.
NAN reports that the Day is used to raise awareness about mental health issues around the world and also to create opportunity for organisations involved in the work to share ideas and experiences in dealing with mental health.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Suicide Prevention”.
The psychiatrist said that the government needs to support efforts in mental health and increase awareness about mental health in the country.
He said that it was also time for government, NGOs and different organisations in the health sector to conduct programmes to support and improve mental health of Nigerians to avoid depression that could lead to suicide.
According to him, there is serious need for stakeholders to create multiple programmes that would improve the mental health of adolescent and young adults as they are mostly vulnerable to mental health problems like depression.
“A very safe and supportive environment for young people to discuss their mental health is required.
“There is need for medication for stress, pain, relationships and Illness through mindful, acceptance and awareness.
“The positive effects of mindfulness on youth self-esteem and confidence strategies on how to empower young minds and kicking out stigma,” he said.
He also advised that best strategies for youth psychological first aid should be explored.
He stressed the need for programmes that would educate and spread the importance of mental health.
The medical practitioner said that some of the programmes include counselling and educational programmes among youths, parents and teachers.
Mr Ameh suggested that the social media should be part of the campaigns that should be used to conduct awareness on mental health for the youths.
He advised that all stakeholders should create a platform that would provide and advocate for raising awareness toward improving youth emotional and mental health outcomes.
The psychiatrist said that there was a need for Nigerians to influence policy makers, institutions, schools and other relevant organisations to improve the current situation and assist youth with mental illnesses.