A Non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Abuja, Bells Echo Initiative, has called on Nigerians and the federal government to show care and support for the victims of mental illnesses.
The statement was made via a press release in commemoration of mental health week in Abuja by the President of the organization, Mr. Abiodun Bello, a human rights advocate.
People suffering from mental health issues are often neglected and stigmatized in the society, with the general assumption based mainly on relesuperstition, made them considered as ‘under punishment for some spiritual deviance’ or suffer from underlying character defect.
“There is a general misconception about the difference between mental health and mental illness. Mental health is the state of one’s mental health or well-being, basically the same as physical health; whereas, mental illness is an illness that affect the way people feel, think, behave or interact with others,” he stated.
Speaking further, he called on the federal government to create a firm and working health policy that will cater for mental illness in Nigeria.
“We all need to get together as a society, especially with a lack of mental health policy by the government, and reach out to our fellow citizens to promote mental health and well-being. As an NGO that is passionate about the plights of people with mental and physical challenges, we will certainly do our bit.
“The time is now to openly embrace and encourage sufferers to speak out about their illnesses which more often than not, can drive people to self-harm and commit suicide due to the feeling of hopelessness and despair they experience. Moreso, in the case of depression and stress,” he concluded