Pay attention to your mental health

By Ariella E. Agada

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. It also helps to determine how we handle stress, relate with people and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of our lives from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Our mental health is important because it determines how we cope with stress, have relationships, and work productively and it also influences our physical health.

Having poor mental health makes us more vulnerable to certain physical health issues. Nurturing good mental health can also help prevent the onset of mental health problems/ disorders. Symptoms of mental health disorders include feeling anxious or worried, feeling unhappy or depressed, sleeping problems, weight or appetite changes, quiet or withdrawal, substance abuse, feelings of worthlessness, emotional outbursts, and many more.

According to Mr Taiwo Obindo, president of the Association of psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), more than 60 million Nigerians are suffering from mental illness. He adds that mental health care is in a sorry state. This is why mental health awareness is important; people need to be able to navigate through their problems and be aware of their mental health.

There are different types of mental health disorders; they include mood disorders (such as bipolarism and depression), psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia), anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. Personality disorder also known as borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder characterised by unstable moods, behaviour, and relationships. Symptoms of this may include disturbed self-image, risky behaviour, and self-harm.

Self-harm is intentional behaviour that is considered harmful to oneself. This is most commonly regarded as direct injury of one’s own skin usually without the intention of suicide or suicidal thoughts. Other names for self-harm include deliberate self-harm (DSH), non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), and self-injury (SI). It involves cutting, self-injury, and self-mutilation. It usually starts as a way to relax the pain and pressure from thoughts and feelings. This may only give temporary relief from the pain. Because of this feeling of temporary relief, self-harm can become a person’s habit or way of dealing with pain or life difficulties.

Self-harm is considered to be non-suicidal. However, it may still be life-threatening. People who do self-harm are most likely to die by suicide. 40-60% of suicides are found in self-harm, but a minority of those who self-harm are suicidal. It is most common between the ages of 12 and 24. Although self-harm in childhood is rare, the rate has been increasing since the 1980s.

You can overcome your problems and boost your mental health by making social connections (face-face is recommended), talking to someone, taking relaxation practices, staying active, and eating a brain-healthy diet to support strong mental health. It is crucial to reach out when you are dealing with mental health struggles, as this will salvage an impending disaster.


Ariella is of NTIC, Kano


By Teen Trust

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