Ecobank Nigeria leads Sensitization on Mental Health in Nigeria

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Monday, October 25, 2021 / 4:59 AM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

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Nigerians have been urged to be open about discussing mental health without discrimination and stigmatization because it is critical to the emotional wellbeing of citizens. The Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, made this point in a video address at a seminar on "Mental Health Awareness" to mark the "Ecobank Day".


He said the banking group has been committed to supporting communities and the nation by addressing social and health issues over the years.


Akinwuntan said Ecobank would support its staff in ensuring that they achieve mental wellness where there may face challenges, stating that the seminar was part of the initiatives that have been put in place to achieve this.


The Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Carol Oyedeji, Ecobank Nigeria, said the "Ecobank Day" was set aside every year to raise awareness on non-communicable diseases in the society.


She said mental health is a growing concern in society, especially with the adverse effect of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown on people's emotional well-being of people.


Oyedeji said Ecobank had provided the opportunity for its staff to implement self-checks and various initiatives that can help them manage the excesses of stress and other disorders that can affect their work-life balance.


"Ecobank believes it is time for Nigerians to take their mental health seriously, and there is a need to create more awareness in the country", She added.


Giving the first presentation on "What is on your mind, Depression and Anxiety", Oluwakemi Akintoyese, a clinical psychologist, noted that 1 in 4 people would experience mental health issues in a year. She added that 1 in 9 people living in conflict settings have moderate or severe mental health disorders.


She said the global economy loses $1trn per year in productivity due to depression and anxiety. She identified the following as traits of mental health issues;

  • Mood disorders- Depression, Mania and Bipolar
  • Anxiety Disorders - General anxiety, OCD, Phobias
  • Stress Disorders - Acute stress, PTSD
  • Eating Disorders - Anorexia, Bulimia
  • Personality - Antisocial, Schizoid

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She also advised participants at the seminar to watch out for the warning signs, which include;

  • Speech: Frequently talking about death making threats of suicide
  • Mood: Drastic change in attitude, Negative view of self, Feeling like a burden to others, Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Behaviour: Substance abuse, Giving things away, Self-harm and other risky behavioural patterns


Nigerian celebrity artiste Di'Ja speaking on "Mental Health & My Work" acknowledged that music has played a vital role in addressing mental health challenges across the globe.


She called on companies to engage the services of clinical psychologists to support their staff who have issues with their mental health. Di'Ja emphasized the need for improved employer-employee relations which can help to improve mental health.


Dr. Olusola Olowookere, who featured via the zoom platform in his intervention on "Emotional and Mental Wellbeing/Insecurity in the Country", agreed that there was a need for more awareness on mental health in Nigeria.


Olowookere highlighted the following types of insecurities that can affect mental wellness: body image insecurities, job insecurities, national insecurities, and emotional insecurities.


He tasked the public and private sectors to explore collaborative ways to eradicate the stigmatization of people seeking mental wellness.


Titilayo Medunoye giving her address on "Mental Health: Perinatal mood disorders", made a strong case for policies to be put in place to support couples with children.


She believed the public and private sector should rejig their policies to create an enabling environment for nursing mothers that are breastfeeding.


Also, at the event, Mary Katambi, a university graduate based on her experience, shared some tips on achieving mental wellness; they include; regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, sleeping well and keeping a positive attitude.

Related Videos from WebTV on Mental Health

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