NDDC mental health,

NDDC boss harps on need to encourage healthy living through mental health

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Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Chiedu Ebie, has harped on the need to encourage healthy living through the sensitization on mental health.

Ebie, who made this known at the Mental Health Summit 2024 held in Asaba, said that it was apt to sensitise the people, particularly the youths on the mental status of Nigerians.

The event was put in place by Health Circle Concept Initiative (HCCI), a Non-Governmental organisation and Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC in partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) where over 200 youths from the zone were exposed to the benefits of mental health.

The theme of the Summit was: “Breaking the Silence: Uniting for Mental Wellness”.

Ebie, who was represented by his Senior aide, Dr Godwin Edozie, said: “Mental health is a global issue and it is a thing of praise that the NDDC considered it necessary to start sensitizing people about their own mental health and mental wellness.

He noted that both external and internal factors were responsible for mental health challenges in society, advising that people should regularly visit their doctors to check their health status.

“Today, many people are not resting but overworking themselves for reasons they could not adduce.

“So, the idea of this seminar and enlightenment is for us to take life easy, pay ourselves and take enough rest and to help others survive stress and stressors,” Ebie said.

On his part, Mr Jator Abido, the Convener, and National Chairman, NDYC Worldwide, lauded the Managing  Director of NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku and the Chairman, Ebie for supporting the programme.

He said that there was a need for the people, particularly the youths to take care of their health given the present economic, social, environmental, biological, and psychological factors among other stressors that impact the people of the region.  

According to Abido, addressing the challenges with comprehensive, multi-faceted solutions could support the mental health of young people better and foster a healthier, more resilient future generation.

“Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. 

“It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. 

“Good mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

“The main concepts of mental health include emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being.”

He said that social factors include the quality of relationships, social support networks, cultural influences, discrimination, and societal stigma related to mental health issues.

“Lifestyle factors encompass diet, physical activity, substance use, sleep patterns, and overall self-care practices, all of which can impact mental well-being.

“Mental health issues among youth in Africa can be influenced by various factors unique to the region,” he said.

On his part, Mr Beke Apere, Board of Trustee (BOT), NDYC Worldwide, said the issues on mental health were a global challenge.

He cautioned that people should speak out about their challenges and not bottle it up to keep off stress, depression and other stressors that cause mental health problems.

“Again because of depression, some persons will opt for drugs to suppress it and when they get addicted to it, it can lead to mental health disorders.

“So, this programme is geared towards sensitising and educating the youths to avoid depression and shun drug abuse to stay mentally healthy,” Apere said.

The lead Speaker, Dr Sarah Uwa, who spoke on Mental Wellness, said that mental health disorder was a challenge like Hypertension, among other health challenges.

According to her, mental health is a state of mental wellbeing which enables a person to cope with life and stressors, learn and impact the environment.

She noted that persons could become mentally unwell due to various stressors including social, biological, and lifestyle among others.

She, however, said that there was a misconception by people who do not see mental health disorders as sickness, adding that “mental health disorder is just like any other chronic sickness like hypertension,  diabetes or asthmatic disorder.

According to her, many people have mental disorders not necessarily outright madness like the mad persons on the street.

“Mental disorder can be mild, moderate or severe forms. For the mild form, they can cope with life events by talking to professionals.”

She noted that the severe cases would need medication like people with other health challenges do to keep them in a stable state to function optimally.

She added that mental disorder was not something to stigmatise against.

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