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Health / Much Ado About Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘mental Illness’ By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 5:38am On May 12
Genevieve Nnaji can aptly be described as the Marilyn Monroe of Nollywood as she is a combination of beauty and acting prowess. She graced the screen for about two decades before ‘retiring’ into the role of a producer where she produced Lionheart – the first Nigerian movie to make it to Netflix which paved the way for some of Mo Abudu’s movies to get there. Lionheart nearly won the Oscar Awards but lost because in the words of the cultural imperialists, it wasn’t Igbo enough as they criticized its ‘excessive’ use of the English language.

The news broke that the actress cum grandmother who turned 43 on May 3rd now has mental illness because she deleted all her posts on Instagram and unfollowed all her followers there. She was also silent on social media on her birthday.

Bad news usually travels faster than good news and trust the gossip blogs to add salt and pepper to it.

The popular Kemi Filani News Blog came out with a sensational caption on May 10, 2022 which read: I knew she was taking drugs – Reactions as Genevieve Nnaji reportedly tackles mental illness.
It is crass ignorance to think that it is only drug abuse that causes mental illness. Anybody irrespective of age, social status, sexual orientation, gender can be mentally ill and so it is highly uncharitable to opine that it is only when one ingests cocaine, heroin, marijuana etc that mental illness will come.

Controversial popular blog Gistlover whose identity of the owner has been wrapped in utmost secrecy also expectedly latched on to the trending news. It said that the ebony actress was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Texas, United States of America and the identity of the hospital was not disclosed to protect the screen diva.

The comment section of Kemi Filani News on May 10, 2022 was rather savage and shows that many Nigerians lack love and empathy when their fellow country person is in distress.

Mental Illness is really no big deal and can be managed just like hypertension or diabetes. In some cases, with doctor’s aid, some psychiatric patients have been successfully weaned off their medications and they don’t have to take it for life.

Genevieve later came out on Instagram with a paint brush which only aggravated the news that all wasn’t well with her.

I am not privy to whether she is mentally ill or not but one fundamental thing that we owe the thespian who graced our screens and gave us joy when she was at the apogee of her acting career is love.

We mustn’t be judgemental as all mortals including celebrities have their shortcomings and nobody is perfect.

Moreover, like said earlier on, mental illness can happen to anybody and even if it happened to Genevieve, she mustn’t be mocked and laughed to scorn for it. Love is the killer app is the title of a New York Times Best Selling Non-Fiction Book and it has been proven in all generations that love is the strongest force in the world from the great empires – Greek, Spartan, Roman, Vikings, Norsemen, Carthage, Trojan etc love always wins and we should apply this ancient language to Genevieve as she badly needs our love in this cold world if indeed, she is mentally ill.

Nigerians are quick to forget the good deeds of their heroes and heroines as the hardship of the day to day living which in the immortal words of Afrobeat Maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is ‘suffering and smiling’. That shouldn’t make us less humane and icy cold. Africans are naturally warm and full of compassion. Why the sudden contempt for the less fortunate? Why the asinine stigmatization?

The war against the stigmatization of the African mentally challenged will only be won if her celebrities are co-opted into it. If Genevieve is really mentally ill, this is the time for her movie colleagues and fellow celebrities to rally round her and push this taboo discussion mainstream so that they can use their star power to positively mould public opinion.

I wholly endorse what the Co-Founder of Red Media Africa, Chude Jideonwo is doing with his show and influence as he is in the forefront of bringing to the fore the discussion around mental illness. More celebrities should follow suit which will make Genevieve’s present travail if it is true not something to grace the headlines in a contemptuous way.

Genevieve is still a role model especially to single mothers whose future seems bleak as she was once a teenage single mum herself and didn’t let that stop her from achieving stardom as an actress and later movie producer. She was courageous enough to rise above her circumstances and her story is one of grass to grace as she boldly looked poverty in the eye and defeated the hydra headed monster.

While we wait for her or her media team to address the public on this, let us show more love to the African mentally challenged as that is the only language that they easily understand in a highly toxic environment like ours where wickedness walks on its two feet.

Thumbs up Genevieve! I remain your raving and die-hard fan for life!

SOURCE:https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/05/12/much-ado-about-genevieve-nnajis-mental-illness-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / The Role Of Conflicts By Caroline Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 4:49am On May 11
PREAMBLE

Very few people will wish to be involved in conflicts, which usually suggest negative connotations like Warfare, Disagreements, Opposition, Contradictions, Discord, Competitive or Opposing action of incompatibles, Antagonistic state or action( as of divergent ideas, interests or persons), Aggression, Expressions of hostility, Rivalry, Misunderstanding etc.

Mary Parker Follet simply defines Conflict as “The appearance of difference, difference of opinions, of interest”

Poorly managed Conflicts are known to contribute immensely to poor mental health, hence the need to acquire skills to identify conflicts and resolve them; Incidentally, conflicts have been found to be expedient for healthy relationships if well managed.

Conflict can be a powerful process, having both desirable and undesirable consequences; it can and should be managed properly and timely.

Conflicts are often unconscious, in the sense that the person may not be able to identify the source of the distress resulting from the conflict. Conflicts arise whenever individuals have different values, opinions, needs, interests and unable to find a middle way.

TYPES OF CONFLICT

Conflicts can be Intrapersonal (Conflicts involving only one individual and within the individual), Interpersonal(Conflict between two or more people in a larger organization, resulting from different personalities of different perspectives on how to accomplish goals); Intergroup (Conflict occurring between different groups within a larger organization or those who do have the same over-arching goals ) and Inter-organizational (Conflicts involving disputes between two or more organizations).

Most of the time, intrapersonal conflict is the root cause of interpersonal and other types of conflicts, if the intrapersonal conflict is not identified or mitigated on time; emphasis will be on intrapersonal conflict in this write-up.

INTRAPERSONAL CONFLICT

This conflict, occurring within the individual, when his or her motives are blocked or when facing two different decisions and cannot take the appropriate decision as he or she faces competing objectives and roles. The conflict within the individual is usually related to Value, where there is no conformity between his or her role and values; For instance, to avoid unwanted calls or visitors, a secretary may sometimes lie that his or her boss is not in the office; this could lead to conflicts within the secretary’s mind who may have adopted and improved the principle of telling the truth always.

This is the conflict that is experienced within the individual; this conflict arises out of your own thoughts, emotions, ideas, values and predispositions. It can occur when you are struggling between what you want to do and what you should do. In other words, Intrapersonal conflict can be experienced by an individual when his or her own goals, values or roles diverge; it could involve two competing desires or goals within the same person.

Some basic elements causing intrapersonal conflicts include Incompatibility, Unacceptability, Uncertainty, Frustration, goal conflict, role conflict.



“Should” and “Want”

This is the conflict humans face within themselves- a conflict between “Should” and “Want”; “Should” is always driven by the values, religious beliefs, up-bringing etc.” Wants “on the other hand are driven by factors like succumbing to an enticing environment, weaknesses of human nature like laziness or sloth, uncontrollable anger, envy, gluttony, pride. Intrapersonal conflict is part and parcel of human life; conflict arises whenever any kind of decision needs to be taken, be it important or unimportant. Every time a decision needs to be taken, “Should” and “Want” weigh on the person, based on which we take decision.

An example of an Intrapersonal conflict for instance, is between consuming alcohol or not for someone whose religious background calls for abstaining from alcohol, but whose social environment entices to consume alcohol. It can be same for moral values like Modesty, Honesty, Fidelity etc. Peer pressure and other circumstances could entice a person to diminish or “let go” the practice of these values in the same manner.

At times, “Should” wins and “Want” lose and vice- versa. Whenever “Should” loses, it leaves behind, a sense of guilt, having gone against a religious precept, or having committed a sin through indulging in a vice or vices and other forms of self-indulgence.

Individuals who develop unhealthy habits are also prone to conflicts within. Smoking for instance, is an unhealthy habit and most smokers may wish to quit the habit; however, the body , which is used to the “Want” of Nicotine, often wins the conflict between ”Should” and “Want”

Shopping Behaviour

When you don’t have a shopping plan, you end up buying more than you require when you visit a shopping mall. From the entrance to the exit, you could come across lots of enticing items and probably finally end up buying more than your budget, due to this conflict of “Want” winning.

NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF INTRAPERSONAL CONFLICTS

Intrapersonal conflicts reveal themselves through different attitudes and behaviour, originating from self-induced, emotional or inner feelings which may include frustrations and emotional instability

Unresolved Intrapersonal conflicts can sometimes have devastating effects on the mental health; it can diminish mental health considerably. Some people, irrespective of “Should”, are completely driven by “Want”, desiring to be esteemed, extolled and other egoistic manifestations, believing that flowing along with others, they will be freed of intrapersonal conflict. Others who understand the importance of “Should” and give in to “Want”, often become indecisive and confused or start depending on others to take decisions for them. Decision-making becomes tough at times, as every action has consequences, positive or negative; it is always important to accept one’s decisions and live by them.



OVERCOMING INTRAPERSONAL CONFLICT

It is worthwhile to always take cognizance of the spiritual dimension of the human person, which has to do with Thinking and Willing.

To overcome conflict, you need to constantly grow in self- knowledge, understanding of issues and other aspects of the enlightenment of the intellect. Getting optimal enlightenment will help you attain firm convictions and aid in making firm and good decisions. You need to constantly grow in virtues, grounded in good principles and committed to thinking, speaking and acting for the highest motives; avoiding vain glory, fleeing from societal or environmental expectation that may not be in accordance with your values will all help avoid intrapersonal conflicts and its negative consequences.

You need to exercise a strong will power in living and acting according to your convictions; Overcoming intrapersonal conflict is by not letting your “Want” to overpower” Should”.

It is also essential to check from time to time your” Shoulds”, to ensure that they are real solid principles. It is usually helpful in resolving intrapersonal conflict, to involve other people- family, friend, spiritual director/ counsellor, co-worker etc, sharing your thoughts and ideas that cause internal conflict, to help sort them out. Learn to listen to yourself, understand yourself, develop constantly, growth in self-awareness. The exercise of the virtue of Humility is paramount in identifying and resolving intrapersonal conflict.

CONCLUSION

It is heartening to know that when intrapersonal conflicts have been identified and acknowledged and the necessary actions have been taken to resolve them, there is a growth in maturity on the part of the person. There is increased self- knowledge, self- mastery, acquisition of virtue- all of which will contribute immensely to positive productive relationships on the interpersonal, intergroup and inter-organizational levels. With good intrapersonal management skills in place, individuals will be stimulated to exert more effort, create productive and creative ideas, contribute to social changes etc. In the final analysis, the identification, acknowledgement and appropriate resolution of conflicts, particularly the intrapersonal type, contributes immensely to wellness.

Caroline Ademiluyi is a Lagos, Nigeria based Pharmacist.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/05/11/the-role-of-conflicts-by-caroline-ademiluyi/
Health / The Nexus Between Investigative Journalism And Mental Health By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 5:15pm On May 07
Investigative journalism is usually the glamour poster for the journalism profession as it seeks to hold powerful people and institutions to account. It demystifies the high and mighty by greatly probing into their private lives for crimes committed by them against the State.

The world wouldn’t forget the heroism of the then Washington Post rookies Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein whose investigative work a.k.a the watergate scandal brought down the government of Richard Nixon and made him the first and only American President so far to resign.

Coming down home, the press has lived up to its name as the fourth estate of the realm by effectively using investigative journalism to hold the government to account.

It was the News Magazine that uncovered the fact that the former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari was 29 years old as at the time he became Speaker and not 36 as he claimed and also that he didn’t attend the University of Toronto. Premium Times also blew up the story of the ex-finance minister, Kemi Adeosun not having an original NYSC discharge certificate forcing her to resign in 2018.

Beneath the glamour of investigative journalism, what is the impact of it on the mental health of its practitioners given the inherent risks that its practitioners have to undertake?

October 19 this year will make it 36 years since Dele Giwa was dispatched to his maker in a parcel bomb without his killers being found. Jafaar Jafaar of Daily Nigerian who made a controversial video of the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje stuffing his babaringa with dollars gotten from a contractor now lives in exile in the UK. David Hundeyin, Publisher of West Africa Weekly who has unearthed quite a number of investigative stories now lives in exile in an undisclosed location having fled the country after exposing the current minister for communication and digital economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.

Investigative journalists in Africa live in so much fear since they know too much. They are constantly looking behind their shoulders. Some of them can’t even reveal their real identities to the public like the famous Anas of Ghana whose face has been hidden beneath a veil since he started uncovering corruption in Ghana. They battle post traumatic stress, clinical depression and all sorts of mental health disorders as they are constantly in a metaphoric war zone in their bid to make society better.

Worse still are the investigative journalists who work in most Nigerian media houses where they owe them salaries for months. It is bad enough that these heroes and heroines earn a piddling which cannot take them home; it is worse for them to be owed for months and even years in some cases.

Therapy is necessary for these journalists as revealed by Amaka Okoye of Deutsche Welle who revealed that she uses it to save her sanity as she works across the troubled North East region. How many investigative journalists in the country can afford it when they can hardly feed themselves?

Many of these journalists cannot openly flaunt their families on social media not because they aren’t proud of them but because it will make them easy targets for elimination by their vicious foes who would stop at nothing to frustrate their work.

In Nigeria where life is cheap and murders are always unresolved, it is an extremely dangerous place to be an investigative journalist as most media houses do not have an insurance cover for their members of staff let alone troublesome investigative journalists whose work could even be a clog in the wheel of their getting lucrative deals from the public and private sector.

There is also the tricky issue of funding. Most investigative journalists especially the freelance ones get grants from international donor agencies to do their work. Many of these foreign donor agencies promote anti-African agendas in the name of human rights. For instance, controversial subjects like abortion and gay rights are opposed by most Africans. The question to ask is wouldn’t these so called brave investigative journalists end up as potential agents of destabilization of Africa by these western donor interests who activities aren’t necessarily pro-African? How many African investigative journalists for example can boldly investigate the activities of the International Planned Parenthood Federation of Marie Stopes with regards to the abortion issue in Africa especially in the light of the planned revocation of the Roe vs Wade law? How many can investigative the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in its interference in the African leadership process? There seems to be a divide and conquer strategy by the Caucasian Imperialists with regards to the activities of the African investigative journalists.

I advocate that investigative journalists in Africa for the sake of their mental health should be more financially independent and shouldn’t solely depend on an employer or grant making agency for funds to execute their noble work. Crowd funding should be used to raise funds so that they are truly independent from all forms of local and foreign sinister interests. I recall in the year 2000 that the Nigerian public saved African Independent Television (AIT) from going under as they proved to be the darling of most Nigerian households since their debut in 1996. African investigative journalists can be the voice for areas where majority of Africans are voiceless that these Africans would contribute monetarily for the advancement of their work. They can also use GoFundMe and other crowdfunding websites to raise funds as the critical thing is for them to be truly independent so that they are advancing not only African interests but humanity’s as well.

The presence of money in the life of the African investigative journalist would ensure that they get regular therapy which their work needs as they would end up as emotional wrecks if they don’t get professional help due to the paucity of funds. Africa would be better off if the mental health of her investigative journalists is taken care off as the continent needs an extremely vibrant and financially independent press to effectively hold its corrupt governments to account which is the raison d’etre of investigative journalism.

African investigative journalists should also remember that no story is worth a life and so should put their mental health first as health is wealth which includes having a robust mental health.

https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/05/07/the-nexus-between-investigative-journalism-and-mental-health-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Jobs/Vacancies / Community News Website by tonyluyi1985: 5:28am On May 04
A community news website seeks to hire the services of reporters to send two community news stories per day. The candidates must reside in Eti Osa, Epe, Surulere, Badagry, Apapa, Ajeromi Ifelodun, Yaba and Ebute Metta.
Send samples of two community news stories to anthonyademiluyi@yahoo.com
Health / Urgently Needed: Mental Health Protection In Nigerian Schools By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 7:36am On May 02
Most Nigerians are still living in denial with regards to the existence of mental health challenges with many of the religious fanatics still attributing it to spiritual attacks in the 21st century.

As a matter of urgency, schools in Nigeria at all levels need mental health protection for their students so as to avert a national calamity that would add to the country’s current plethora of challenges.

Nigerians woke up to the news of the alleged brutal murder of Sylvester Oromoni of Dowen College by some suspected student cultists who tortured him to death for refusing to join their cult. As if that news wasn’t unpalatable enough, the nation was woken to the rude shock of some students of Chrisland school engaging in an orgy in faraway Dubai.

Some investigative journalists have drawn our attention to the existence of cult groups in secondary and even primary schools. Nigeria is indeed sitting on a time bomb and the schools need a government backed protection to safeguard the mental health of its students.

How many Nigerians are aware of the fact that there are trained child and adolescent psychiatrists who specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry in a similar way that you have paediatricians?

The acute shortage of psychiatrists in the ‘Giant of Africa’ may be largely responsible for this ignorance. This is a fall out of the government neglect of the health sector but it is a discussion for another day.

Private schools should go beyond charging exorbitant school fees to taking proper care of the students and pupils entrusted in their care which also involves minding and given protection to their mental health.

The government can make it compulsory for all Nigerian teachers to be trained as mental health first aiders to be able to promptly diagnose if a student has a mental health challenge and escalate it to the school authorities and their parents. The curriculum should also include the students learning about the basics of mental health and signs to look out for if they have challenges with it.

The protection of mental health in our schools is a sine qua non to national development as many social vices will be nipped in the bud if the students’ mental health is in good shape.

It makes no sense to prioritize academic learning over that of character which good mental health has a huge role to play in its shaping.

One of the best novels in literature is the ‘Lord of the Flies’ written by William Golding who later won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. The novel was about young boys who were stranded in an Island after a plane accident and became worse than beasts due to the lack of adult supervision. At the end of the novel, the protagonist, Jack had supervised many killings of his fellow boys.

Our Nigerian students can become another Jack if mental health protection is neglected in our schools. One of the seven deadly sins listed by Mahatma Ghandi is education without character and the mental health neglect by our uncaring successive governments is churning out demons in the name of students who will unleash their venom into the society.

The ministry of education should work closely with mental health experts – psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers and stakeholders to formulate sturdy public policies that will guarantee the students’ mental health protection. We cannot have a situation whereby these impressionable and vulnerable students having been negatively influenced by social media and their peers do despicable things to the chagrin of decent minded people.

Parents even need some training as the conditions in which they grew up as children is different from what obtains today. Even the millennials who constitute a large bulk of today’s parents didn’t grow up with the internet and social media and so the external negative influence was far less. Who could have imagined that the ten-year-old Chrisland student girl could have a Likee account with thousands of followers where she regularly posted raunchy videos? Parents need to be on top of their game so as to give protection to their children or ward’s mental health.

The stakeholders – government, parents, school owners should act now and progressive minded legislators at all levels should sponsor bills to make it law so that it has a sturdy and sustainable legal framework.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/05/02/urgently-needed-mental-health-protection-in-nigerian-schools-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Urgently Needed: Mental Health Protection In Nigerian Schools By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:54am On May 02
Most Nigerians are still living in denial with regards to the existence of mental health challenges with many of the religious fanatics still attributing it to spiritual attacks in the 21st century.

As a matter of urgency, schools in Nigeria at all levels need mental health protection for their students so as to avert a national calamity that would add to the country’s current plethora of challenges.

Nigerians woke up to the news of the alleged brutal murder of Sylvester Oromoni of Dowen College by some suspected student cultists who tortured him to death for refusing to join their cult. As if that news wasn’t unpalatable enough, the nation was woken to the rude shock of some students of Chrisland school engaging in an orgy in faraway Dubai.

Some investigative journalists have drawn our attention to the existence of cult groups in secondary and even primary schools. Nigeria is indeed sitting on a time bomb and the schools need a government backed protection to safeguard the mental health of its students.

How many Nigerians are aware of the fact that there are trained child and adolescent psychiatrists who specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry in a similar way that you have paediatricians?

The acute shortage of psychiatrists in the ‘Giant of Africa’ may be largely responsible for this ignorance. This is a fall out of the government neglect of the health sector but it is a discussion for another day.

Private schools should go beyond charging exorbitant school fees to taking proper care of the students and pupils entrusted in their care which also involves minding and given protection to their mental health.

The government can make it compulsory for all Nigerian teachers to be trained as mental health first aiders to be able to promptly diagnose if a student has a mental health challenge and escalate it to the school authorities and their parents. The curriculum should also include the students learning about the basics of mental health and signs to look out for if they have challenges with it.

The protection of mental health in our schools is a sine qua non to national development as many social vices will be nipped in the bud if the students’ mental health is in good shape.

It makes no sense to prioritize academic learning over that of character which good mental health has a huge role to play in its shaping.

One of the best novels in literature is the ‘Lord of the Flies’ written by William Golding who later won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. The novel was about young boys who were stranded in an Island after a plane accident and became worse than beasts due to the lack of adult supervision. At the end of the novel, the protagonist, Jack had supervised many killings of his fellow boys.

Our Nigerian students can become another Jack if mental health protection is neglected in our schools. One of the seven deadly sins listed by Mahatma Ghandi is education without character and the mental health neglect by our uncaring successive governments is churning out demons in the name of students who will unleash their venom into the society.

The ministry of education should work closely with mental health experts – psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers and stakeholders to formulate sturdy public policies that will guarantee the students’ mental health protection. We cannot have a situation whereby these impressionable and vulnerable students having been negatively influenced by social media and their peers do despicable things to the chagrin of decent minded people.

Parents even need some training as the conditions in which they grew up as children is different from what obtains today. Even the millennials who constitute a large bulk of today’s parents didn’t grow up with the internet and social media and so the external negative influence was far less. Who could have imagined that the ten-year-old Chrisland student girl could have a Likee account with thousands of followers where she regularly posted raunchy videos? Parents need to be on top of their game so as to give protection to their children or ward’s mental health.

The stakeholders – government, parents, school owners should act now and progressive minded legislators at all levels should sponsor bills to make it law so that it has a sturdy and sustainable legal framework.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/05/02/urgently-needed-mental-health-protection-in-nigerian-schools-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Music Therapy – An Effective Stress Reliever And Mental Health Booster By Olamid by tonyluyi1985: 5:36am On Apr 30
“Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life” – John Paul Friedrich

It is often said that variety is the spice of life, but music lovers have claimed that music is life in itself. “Music is to the soul what words are to the mind” – Modest Mouse.

Music is a pleasurable art that can also yield a powerful therapeutic effect. It has a stress-relieving effect and could help you temporarily escape the pains of life.

Over the years, there have been extensive studies on the benefit of music therapy in mental health improvement and the results have been impressive.

Apart from the fun fact that music is a rhythmic sound that brings different people together, research has proven that melody reduces blood pressure and heart rate. It can also help to regulate anxiety rate and boost the overall mood of individuals.

In this informative article, we would explore the rich health benefits of music that have been otherwise relegated to the background in mental health improvement.



What is Music Therapy?



Music therapy is the administration of therapeutic sounds in the treatment of issues relating to mental health. The concept of music treatment dates back to the 1800s when the foremost music therapy experiment was conducted.

Music therapy is unique in its administration because it does not involve the use of drug pills, injection of substances, or any other physical medical interventions. However, it works almost as much as healthy medical prescriptions and it has absolutely no side effects.

While you cannot always use music as a solitary method of mental health treatment, you can use it alongside other medical interventions to boost the recovery rates of mental health patients, helping them to recuperate faster.

Contrary to what many think, music therapy is not just about listening to music, even though that is a major part of music therapy.

Music therapy involves the use of songs/sounds. Music could be with or without words and can be enhanced with the use of well-played instruments.

Music therapy could be administered via one or more of the following means:

Listening to good music
Playing musical instruments like piano, guitar, violin, and harps.
Writing and even singing songs.


In music therapy, you can either be an active participant or a passive one.

Let’s look at what both concepts individually mean:



Active Participation



This involves active participation in music therapy. It could be as simple as singing along to your favorite music or learning to play a musical instrument like piano, guitar, or even harps.

A little swaying of your body in line with the tandem with the music can do much more good to your mental health than you think.



Passive Participation



Passive participation does not require you to do anything other than listen. Hence, you could listen to a soul-rejuvenating song while doing your regular house chores or during bodily exercises like running or jogging. Research shows that athletes that run while listening to music recorded better running performance.

You could also listen to a professional instrumentalist who plays you a musical instrument while you try to sleep.



Music and Your Mental Health



Stress is a natural human response to emotional and mental pressure. It is almost a normal part of life and every human has to go through it at one point or the other. However, the extent of its effect may vary for different individuals.

Stress can take a negative toll on your mental health, birthing varieties of adverse effects including insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, physical body pain, headaches, energy depletion, and depression amongst others.

However, the good thing is that stress can be managed, and this is where music therapy comes to play.



Benefits of Music Therapy to Mental Health



Music therapy can be administered to aid the treatment of mental health-related issues, including dementia, sleeping disorders (insomnia), depression, and anxiety.

Music is a powerful therapy that can improve your mental well-being by reducing stress. While its mechanism of action is not distinctly known, its effectiveness in alleviating stress and improving mental health is undeniable.

Some of the proven benefits of music to mental health include:



Memory enhancement

It can help patients suffering from dementia to recall lost memories easily and more rapidly.



Stress Relief

Music can help to cure depression and anxiety, enriching the soul and improving your overall mood. Research shows that music can aid the release of emotional tension while helping you to loosen up better.



Better Sleeping Pattern

Music can improve sleep patterns by calming parts of the autonomic nervous system, which improves the breathing pattern, reduces blood pressure, and regulates heart rate.



What Kind of music is The Best Selection for Therapy?



Not all music is fit for use as therapy, but the right music is food for the soul, refilling it with energy and vitality for improved mental well-being.

While there isn’t a fixed genre of music for therapy, you still have to select the right music for the choicest effect. The best kind of music for therapy includes:

Sounds that evoke emotions in you; could make you laugh or cry
Sounds that help you relax or ease you off to sleep (don’t you often wonder why babies sleep better and longer with a soft lullaby playing in the background?)
Sounds that make you want to sway your body into tune with a song.


Regarding Mental Health, Does Music Therapy Work for Everyone?



No! As with every other therapy, music therapy will not work for everyone, but it is definitely worth a trial. Especially since it does not involve any obvious risk.



Improve Your Mental Health at No Cost with Music Therapy!


Music is fun, relaxing, motivating, and energizing. You can start your day with soft therapeutic music or make music an important part of your daily routine at almost no cost. It can serve as an easy and economical way to boost your mental health with no side effects.

It is hard to explain the mechanism of how music touches people and works to calm the nerves, improve mental health, and speed up the healing process of patients suffering from different ailments. All that is known is that music is an effective medicine prescribed for the soul to strengthen the mind and, subsequently, the body. This is enough proof for you to give it a trial.

Olamide Sodamade is a Lagos, Nigeria based writer.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/30/music-therapy-an-effective-stress-reliever-and-mental-health-booster-by-olamide-sodamade/
Health / Corporate Zimbabwe: Commendation For Support For Mental Health By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:37am On Apr 26
Zimbabwe was known as the food basket of Africa in 1980 when they got their independence from Great Britain. The land was very fertile and this attracted Caucasian farmers who used state power to dispossess the natives of their ancestral lands.

Bad leadership prevented the small country from achieving its immense potential as Robert Mugabe emerged tragically from being a liberation fighter to becoming a sit tight dictator who unleashed a slew of anti-people economic and political policies which left the once promising nation in ruins. So bad was it that a viral joke said that you would need a wheel barrow full of money to purchase a loaf of bread.

I am happy that despite the challenges that Zimbabwe formerly known as Rhodesia faces, the corporate Zimbabwe has shown empathy for the mental health cause which is highly commendable.

ZB Bank and 3K tv were the sponsors of this year’s mental health awareness campaign which is spearheaded by some public-spirited mental health advocates who want a better deal for the mentally challenged in that country.

Young people mental health president Tawanda Murepa said the presence of big business showed the greenlight to the battle against mental health, drug and substance abuse in the country.

He said: “We are pleased with the presence of big businesses like ZB bank, Nyaradzo, National Aids Council (NAC) among other exhibitors…we hope that after this expo, if we approach any of the companies which exhibited today asking for partnership or funds, we will get positive responses.”

A prominent actress, Kessia Masona (Muchaneta) also added her two cents when she opined: “Today’s event is open to everyone from sports, entertainment and business people among all invited guests…we want to spread the word of awareness about mental health so that we create a sense of restoration to those who are at the verge of giving up.”

The war against the stigmatization of the African mentally challenged can only be won if the activists co-opt businesses and ensure that the latter enshrine policies that will be favourable to the patients.

The patients should be able to comfortably discuss their plight with the human resources department without the fear of being fired or stigmatized and the HR personnel should be well trained to be able to effectively manage them as they still have something to offer despite their health challenge.

The stress of living in most African countries with the bad governance, poverty, corruption, hostile economic policies etc contribute to mental health disorders and so activists must step up their game to not only demand for good leadership but to hold the leaders accountable as well.

It is a right step that Zimbabwe is emerging from the ashes of the post Mugabe era and leaving the ugly past behind them to forge into a better state where the interests of the mentally challenged are highly protected.

Activists in the Southern African country mustn’t rest on their oars and there is also the need to influence public policy to ensure a better deal for the mentally challenged as politics and the economy have an unholy alliance in Africa. There is the need to get the government to enact legislations that will compel the businesses not to discriminate or stigmatize the mentally challenged. While we commend the businesses in Zimbabwe for standing up for the patients, the advocates must not ignore the role that the government plays as the polity largely influences the economy or business in Africa and so there is the need to hold the government accountable so that the patients can smile.

Other businesses should follow in Zimbabwe and the public policy thrust must be so sturdy that even foreign investors would take into consideration the interests of the patients when setting up shop in Zimbabwe which is blessed with one of the finest African weathers.

Activists should also get the support of celebrities like footballers, thespians and musicians to back the cause and use their wide influence and contacts to ensure that the mentally challenged’s interests are well protected.

If Zimbabwe is to build an all-inclusive society and key into the current mantra of diversity and inclusiveness, then the mentally challenged need to be adequately treated with harsh laws on stigmatization.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step goes the ancient Chinese cliché and that the support by the two aforementioned businesses in Zimbabwe for the mentally challenged is a step in the right direction as it will cause a ripple effect for other businesses to follow suit.

Well Done Corporate Zimbabwe!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/26/corporate-zimbabwe-commendation-for-support-for-mental-health-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / A Day In Yaba Left By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:30am On Apr 22
The Publisher on a visit to the world-famous Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba a.k.a Yaba Left met an outpatient who had once been an inpatient of the medical institution.

He shared his story on his two months stay there and how a typical day as an inpatient was like.

My assumed name is Yemi Pearse. I am from Ondo State but was born and bred in Lagos. I am the last born and have three siblings.

I have little memories of my father as he passed away in a fatal motor accident when I was barely four years old. My mum was all I had and we dotted on each other as I was clearly her favourite child.

My dream was to become a medical doctor as my mum told me my dad may have lived if medical help had come earlier. Also, some hospitals rejected him as they presumed him to be a fleeing armed robber and first wanted a police report before treating him. All these made me a very compassionate person and made me drawn to the medical profession as I saw saving lives as my life’s calling.

I attended the prestigious Federal Government College Lagos, Ijanikin for my secondary or high school education and was an above average student but I excelled in biology and chemistry.

My nightmare started with getting an admission to study medicine. I stayed at home for four years and rejected two admissions to study microbiology and physiotherapy because I was hellbent on doing medicine.

My mum – my rock was always by my side to reassure me even when the world turned its back on me. She was a struggling civil servant and I had other siblings otherwise she may have sent me abroad to study as was fashionable among the Nigerian elite and strangulated middle class.

Heeding to my mum’s advice I settled for biochemistry after a five year stay at home. I was at a loss on what to do with the course but I was sick and tired of wasting away doing nothing and so I took it.

In my third year, my whole world crumbled when I got the news that my beloved mum passed on in her sleep without any signs of being ill.

I couldn’t cope with the pain and I fell into deep depression and woke up to find myself in Yaba Left. How did I get here I screamed? I had always associated the place with junkies and never do wells and I had never even smoked a cigarette so how on earth did I end up in this evil place?

I recall shouting that I wanted to see my mother and constituting nuisance as well as attacking some of my fellow patients. The nurse on duty simply called the crisis intervention team and I was beaten as well as given an injection which made me sleep off.

I remember a session with a doctor and psychologist and it usually started with the question: ‘Where are you now?’ and then a follow up question: ‘What brought you here?’

I remember answering that I was in Yaba Left but that I really didn’t know why I was brought here and I was wondering why my mum hadn’t yet come to visit me.

One of the social workers engaged me in a pep talk that my mum had passed away which was the reason why she hadn’t visited me. She counselled that I had to adapt to the new reality and learn to live with the grief. I burst into tears and cursed God loudly which made her call the crisis intervention team who beat me till I fell unconscious.

I recall the occupational therapy classes where we were ‘taught’ different skills like sewing, learning how to use the computer, barbing of hair etc. It was time wasting as we were too many with the learning facilities being grossly overstretched. I never learnt anything as I simply sat down in despair as I had yet to come to the reality of my being a patient there. I was even told that the OT in Yaba Left was the best among all the Nigerian psychiatric hospitals. Really I exclaimed! Why are we so mediocre in this part of the world?

I recall a health talk where a psychiatrist had this to say ‘This illness is not a joke. If your parents or guardians crossed the gate from the right side of Yaba and brought you to Yaba Left then you have to brace up to the reality of being on these medications for the rest of your lives.’ That made my spine shudder as I generally hated drugs and even preferred injections. To be subjected to this torture for life? God is indeed wicked!

The food was horrible especially the swallows and its terrible soups not even fit for wild animals. My siblings hardly visited and so I felt very lonely and unloved.

On Saturdays, a Catholic and Protestant Group used to come to evangelize and hold prayer meetings. I joined the Protestant as I slowly began to accept the fact that my mum had passed on and wouldn’t be coming back; I needed a strong anchor to help me weather the storms. I gave my life to Christ one day and I felt better.

I was discharged and was told to be checking back from time to time for my medical appointment. I deferred my admission by a session and finally graduated.

I am now a Lagos State Civil Servant and I am living each day at a time. I am active in church and finally found love after being rejected many times because of my mental health challenge. I will be tying the knots anytime from now.

Looking back retrospectively especially at my stay in Yaba Left, I am grateful to God for what I have become; I may not have achieved much materially but I am contented for the little mercies and graces he bestowed on me.

I look forward to a brighter future.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/22/a-day-in-yaba-left-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / My Ambition To Be A Dancer Landed Me In Aro By John Adeleke by tonyluyi1985: 8:10am On Apr 21
Our correspondent John Adeleke went to the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta where he talked with a young man who is now an out patient there. He discussed his dancing ambition and how he ended up being a patient.

Have a happy reading:

My assumed name for the purpose of this story is Luke Edet and I am from Akwaibom State even though I was born and bred in Abeokuta the capital of Ogun State.

I am the last child and have three siblings. I have always loved dancing. I can recall as a kid when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always mention that I wanted to be a dancer. I admired them on television and practiced all the latest dance steps that were in vogue.

This didn’t go down well with my conservative parents who wanted me to have a regular career so that I could have a good job with a good pension plan and take care of them alongside my siblings in their old age.

I went to boarding school in Enugu and it was fun as I made lots of friends from different ethnic groups in the country. I shared my dancing aspiration with some of them and they whole-heartedly endorsed it.

A friend advised that I needed to ‘get high’ to be able to dance well and that most professional dancers were usually high on drugs. At this point, I started smoking marijuana which gave me a temporal relief from life’s troubles and cruel blows.

I finished secondary school and moved back home. I wasn’t really interested in furthering my education as I didn’t see the need for a certificate for my chosen career despite my parents’ pleas that I can always go back to dancing but I should at least get a university degree.

I participated in several dance competitions and signed up to some artistes which exposed me to some good money and the fine things of life. As a generous person, I brought home the goodies and this made my mum have a rethink about her earlier stance of not wanting me to be a dancer as in her words she was beginning to reap the fruits of her labour. She then encouraged me to follow my passion and gave me her unwavering backing. My dad though secretly proud of me wouldn’t stop complaining about my non intention to acquire a university education.

I bought my first car – the one which Nigerians call Honda Baby Boy and was living on the fast lane as I had wad, wine and women. I was gradually building a name for myself in the music industry and was a backup dancer for some popular artistes which made me permanently relocate to Lagos as it was the headquarters of entertainment in the country.

I moved from the backwaters of Abeokuta to highbrow Lekki Phase One at barely 20 and was really happy as well as fulfilled at how far I had come within a short space of time.

I got a call from my immediate elder sister one fateful day which changed my life forever. She called when I was in a rehearsal to tell me that my darling mother who sacrificed everything for me passed on in her sleep without any sign of an illness.

I was devastated and my world came crumbling all of a sudden. I became withdrawn and avoided everyone including my then girlfriend and my manager. I would look myself up in my room and brood from morning till night.

I left Lagos without telling anyone for the burial and cried myself hoarse especially when the corpse was being lowered to the grave.

After the burial I lost interest in everything and became a shadow of myself. I carried her pictures with me and kept staring at her face and calling her name. My dad was concerned and tried to keep me company; my manager came around and told me of some lucrative gigs he had secured for me as a way of cheering me up but I didn’t care anymore as I had lost interest in things which I once loved.

I tried getting close to God and sometimes would go for Sunday and week day service. I recall one particular week day service when the Pastor preached about the miracle of Lazarus being brought back to life by Jesus Christ. I can remember my shouting that he could do the same for my mum. I screamed like a deranged banshee and can’t recall what happened next.

I woke up to find myself in the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta.

Nobody told me how and why I was brought there which only made me more hostile. I remember being beaten up mercilessly by the Crisis Intervention Team when I ‘misbehaved’ and on one occasion made a futile attempt at escaping.

When I had a session with my doctor, he told me that the twin combination of substance abuse and grief brought about by my beloved mum’s demise were responsible for my being admitted.

I lost my self confidence and had no desire to live for anything. I got a text message from my manager that he had no more interest in working with a mentally deranged client as the news of my admission had circulated widely in the entertainment circuit. An online tabloid did the story with my name and picture and it trended for days also on social media.

Bowing to pressure from my dad, I decided to go to the University to study business administration since my entertainment career was now history.

My dad and brother finance my medications purchase and I live in despair and hopelessness as I am dismayed at my banal existence rather than living up to my real potentials as an entertainer.

I finished my degree and NYSC; job hunting took an incredible emotional toll on me and I simply gave up.

Lately, I have been toying with the idea of relocating permanently to the US but the reality facing me is that I don’t have the funds for it. As a way of escaping from my unemployment and poverty troubles, I follow American entertainment news on a daily basis which acts as a potent placebo for my woes.

When Kanye West came out as a bi polar disorder patient, it gave me a strong ray of hope that I wasn’t alone and that I could achieve all what I set out to do despite my health challenge. I resolved deeply within me that I was going to be a dancer in the US despite the water that had passed under the bridge.

I hung Kanye’s picture on my room wall to constantly remind me of my dream to legally migrate to God’s own country.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/13/my-ambition-to-be-a-dancer-landed-me-in-aro-by-john-adeleke/
Health / Well Done Betty Irabor By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 7:40am On Apr 21
I have written for the umpteenth time that if we are to win the war against the stigmatization of the mentally challenged in Africa, then celebrities with their potent star power need to be co-opted into the fight as allies. It makes the battle more effective if some of these celebrities themselves are battling the challenge and choose to openly acknowledge their struggles. It will only make them look human in the face of their teeming fans who will realize that beneath the veneer of fortune and fame is a vulnerable and frail human being in need of emotional support and love.

If wealth and fame were all there was to life, how come many ‘successful’ people by its definition ended up committing suicide? From Ernest Hemingway to Marilyn Monroe – the list is endless.

I was glad that popular journalist and Publisher of Genevieve Magazine, Betty Irabor came out to the world and openly told her fans and the public of her struggles with mental health. Who could have imagined that such a successful woman – former journalist with Concord Newspapers, held her own in corporate communications in various blue-chip companies and her widely read magazine was an African clone of Oprah Winfrey’s O, her husband, Soni Irabor could be aptly described as the Larry King of Nigeria when he hosted his popular Soni Irabor Live show, could have secret battles with depression which made her seek therapy from even as far as the United Arab Emirates? Such is life as they say!

I am happy because when it happens to the hoi polloi, it is usually attributed to demonic attacks and they end up getting chained and brutally beaten. With Betty Irabor’s story, the conversation around it will hopefully change and they will seek treatment from competent doctors and mental health care workers.

Popular FMCG Brand Lipton is also worthy of commendation as they dedicated the women’s month – March to a campaign for the destigmatization of mental illness. It was captioned ‘#LiptonBreakTheBias.

In partnership with GoSlo, they hosted Betty Irabor to an event in Wheatbaker Hotel which was titled ‘Ultimate Conversation with Betty Irabor.’

I am glad that not only Betty Irabor is championing the awareness of this ailment, two big brands are also behind her and are doing their best to tell the world that mental illness is really no big deal and its like any other ailment like diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension that can be well managed.

While I am happy that this conversation will greatly change the narrative, I want it to be more effective as only a grassroots campaign on the awareness of mental health will be really worth the struggle. The common man or the man on the street will definitely not be at Wheatbakers Hotel or any high brow hotel for that matter where there are endless conferences, seminars and workshops that do little or nothing to ameliorate his plight. The harsh economic policies have pushed him to the wall and he is contending with not only putting food on the table for himself and his family but also purchasing his medications. One way celebrities can help is if they can galvanize international donor agencies with an interest in health to give free medications to the mentally challenged in Africa starting from Nigeria just as they did with HIV drugs in the ‘Giant of Africa’ that have been free since 2006. This way, the impoverished mentally challenged Nigerian’s life will be directly impacted as it will save a huge chunk of his lean finances and prevent any occurrence of a relapse which will make him function effectively in the society.

Celebrities like Betty Irabor should go beyond the regular jaw jaw to using their huge brands and contacts built and cultivates over the years to positively influencing public policy so that the Man on the Clapham Omnibus can have a better deal when it comes to mental health as they really don’t understand all the Twitter hashtags and sloganeering since they are financially, emotionally and psychologically battered by anti-people policies to care about some conference that has no direct impact in their lives.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step goes the ancient Chinese cliché and we are glad that the likes of Betty Irabor have come out of the closet to tell the world their mental health stories. We only hope that more celebrities with the ailment can be open about it so that together we will win this noble battle.

Well done Betty Irabor!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/11/well-done-betty-irabor-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Blessing Okoro Stands Up To Be Counted By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:53am On Apr 21
The death of Osinachi Nwachukwu, the popular Gospel artiste whose hit song ‘Ekwueme’ rocked the airwaves and was a must play in churches brings to the fore the issue of female domestic violence.

There is a nexus between domestic violence whether physical, emotional or psychological and mental health challenges. A victim of domestic violence in a marriage would most likely have mental illness.

It was revealed that Osinachi actually walked out of her marriage for about a year before being prevailed upon by some pastors to return which some people like Frank Edwards say was responsible for her death.

Popular relationship therapist, Blessing Okoro recently shared her horrible experience in her abusive marriage with her former husband. In her words: “Memory lane ….
So funny how I feel absolutely nothing watching this video
Lucky it feels good to write about you again after 12 years ..
2009 5th December.

“It’s been 12 years of my divorce .
You might be wondering why I am posting this after a long long time, i am posting because I want to show you how the men who hit women look like, they don’t always look like osinachis husband, they come in different package .

“Can you believe this innocent guy was the one I talked about for years now, yes he is the famous ex that took away my youth at 15 years and abused me.

“@josie_de_xii witnessed the beating a day to my wedding this day, he beat me in front of everybody.

“My kid sister @da_yan0 witnessed the day he beat me to coma, 2 weeks after our wedding, he was beating my lifeless body .My sister still have that fear till now .

“I heard he is married and still hitting his current wife, anyways that is her decision . Domestic violence is not a joke, this man here abused me to the point that I divorced him at 21 and I feel I did not punish him enough. I am posting this for him to reply me or say jack let me sue him for abuse and molestation .

“For 5 years you have not paid one kobo on your sons head, I needed people who know you to know You are that ex .

“Lucky I now have a voice, you knew I was going to be big and that was your greatest fear, but I am �.

“The death of osinachi brought back the rage and anger. Anyways it’s all over now and I am free .

“PS ,, see me smiling like goat but you no go know say them slap me that morning and a night to this morning .

“What did you do blessingceo that made this cute man beat you up, nothing, absolutely noting he just love the innocent vulnerable little gal. He was 13 years older than me oooo.

Many of her critics have questioned her competence in being a relationship coach when her marriage hit the rocks. Now we know better as it is better to be a divorcee and alive than to be dead in the name of keeping up appearances of being married. Osinachi may have lived assuming the allegations of wife battery was true if she had maintained her stance when she took a walk despite the pressure on her to come back to her matrimonial home. The video that surfaced of her innocent children praying for her not to die on her last birthday and the terrible stories her children told the media about her incessant battery by her hubby leaves even the stone-hearted with tears in their eyes.

Celebrities with their star power can condemn female and even male domestic violence. We recall that popular OAP, Ifedayo Olarinde a.k.a Daddy Freeze shocked the world when he said that he was a victim of domestic violence.

Blessing Okoro took a bold step in sharing her heart wrenching story with the world and other celebrities in abusive marriages or relationships should follow suit so that the already high cases of mental health in the nation wouldn’t be further exacerbated.

Blessing may have her fair share of controversies as she is one of the most trolled celebrities online but her decision to openly share her ugly experiences with domestic violence is highly commendable.

Women – the fairer sex ought to be protected from beasts who prowl around town masquerading as lovers or husbands. Women go through a lot and their mental health needs to be adequately protected if we are to develop as a nation and reach our potential.

Many more celebrities especially women should lend their voice to the condemnation of women battery and they should also prevent this from affecting the next generation by raising their boys to be lovers and defenders of women rather than seeing them as boxing objects.

While I condemn Will Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock at the last Oscar Awards, he showed his love for his wife Jada Pinkett Smith even though he went too far by his assault of the popular comedian. Men should stand up for and protect their wives rather than batter them.

Blessing Okoro has lent her loud voice to the discourse; I hope other celebrities and even ordinary women follow suit so that together we can build a more humane and compassionate society which shows unbridled love for the vulnerable and weak.

Popular Nollywood actress once said she was scared of marriage because divorce was something she vehemently loathed. She can lend her voice to the growing trend of female domestic violence even though not from a personal experience but because she is one of Africa’s biggest global arts exports. She is the only Nigerian actress to have featured on the defunct one of the world’s most watched shows – Oprah Winfrey’s show.

Chika Ike was allegedly a victim of domestic violence; she can shed more light on it and make her experience public as a way of using star power to effectively solving age-long societal challenges.

Blessing Okoro a big thumbs up!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/17/blessing-okoro-stands-up-to-be-counted-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Mental Illness Is Really No Big Deal By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:37am On Apr 21
When people say they are ill, it connotes ailments like malaria, typhoid, cough and other hitherto ‘mild ailments’. When they say they are sick what comes to mind are sicknesses like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, lupus etc. However, when afflicted by mental illnesses, what comes to the minds of many people including people who should know better is that it is a spiritual attack from the devil or to use Nigerian parlance ‘One’s village people are chasing the person.’ This explains why some ignorant people take psychiatric patients to spiritual homes for exorcism rather than to hospitals.

While I am a firm believer in science, it still has its limitations at least for now as there are many ailments for which there is no cure but can be effectively managed throughout the person’s lifetime. Ailments like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, sickle cell etc have no cure but with medications can be managed very well. Why don’t the parents or guardians of these sufferers or the patients themselves seek spiritual help? Why don’t they get chained or run from one spiritual home to the other in search of an elusive cure?

A Consultant Psychiatrist and CEO of Grey Insights, Dr. Shola Olowookere has this to say about mental illness as reported by Punch Newspapers on April 17, 2022. In his words “The mental health challenge is huge and it is just so sad that we are not talking about it enough. A lot of things are being swept under the carpet. There is not much emphasis and importance placed on our emotional health. Mental disorders are significant, and that is why we need to be reminding ourselves about them.

“We at Grey Insights are really trying to implement global best practices. We try to encourage people to talk about their emotions, which is something that we, as Nigerians, are not used to doing.

“We need to encourage people to speak up. We need to normalise that conversation. Driving past the Lekki toll plaza still brings a lot of anxiety to many as a result of the shootings of 2020. All these are gradually impacting the way we think, feel and behave, and we need to talk about this.

“We set this up for professionals, who are too busy taking care of other people and forget to care for themselves. It is a safe space for therapy and relaxation. It is a place to be at peace with oneself and just be in a happy place, forgetting about work stress for a moment.”

I have earlier written that mental health employees should be given adequate healthcare coverage in the workplace as the prevention of relapses would make for a more productive workforce in the country’s overall best interest. Billions of dollars is being lost to avoidable illnesses and breakdowns by mentally challenged employees.

Mental health stakeholders have a huge role to play to demystify this ailment and educate the public so that they deal in a more humane and compassionate way with the mentally challenged as the ailment can happen to anybody. There is the myth that mental illness is solely caused by drug or substance abuse and so it is the fault of the sufferers. This is not true as substance abuse is just one of the numerous causes. There are other factors like grief, lost expectations, dashed hopes, genetic factors etc that could be the raison d’etre for the illness and so in most cases its really not the patient’s fault and so there should be more empathy from the non-sufferers and society at large.

Some celebrities like Kanye West are open about their mental health challenges and the de-stigmatization agenda will have more bite and potency if more with the challenge can be open about their ailment as it will greatly inspire the millions of patients that all hope is not lost and they are not less human simply because they suffer from it. It will put a human face to the campaign and show that we are all vulnerable.

The ’I have a Dream Speech’ is one of the most widely read speeches of all time spoken by the legendary Reverend Martin Luther King Jr when he dreamt of a better deal for the black community that they wouldn’t be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I also dream of a day when mental health patients would freely post their visits to their psychiatrists and psychologists on their social media handles and the world would see it as no big deal as it will be equated to a regular and normal hospital visit.

Would this dream come to pass in my lifetime? Would I be like King who never saw the actualization of his dream and was even murdered for it? Would I be like the Biblical Prophet Moses who led the Israelites out of the desert but never saw the promised land?

Over to you time!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/19/mental-illness-is-really-no-big-deal-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / I Stand With Prof. Taiwo Sheikh By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:23am On Apr 21
Mental Illness is arguably the most misunderstood of all illnesses since it is an ailment that afflicts the mind rather than the body. For instance, some people wouldn’t know that a mental health patient has the challenge unless it was disclosed to them.

This makes it a rather controversial sickness leading many people all through the ages to opine that it is an attack from the devil and can only be cured through crude means of exorcism.

I have argued time and time again on this platform that it is a regular disease that in most cases needs a lifelong management no different from hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus, alopecia etc. Do the sufferers of the other aforementioned illnesses get dumped in churches especially the Pentecostal under the guise of fasting and prayers?

I read Prof Taiwo Sheikh’s Vanguard Column on April 19, 2022 aptly captioned ‘Common Myths and Misconceptions of Mental Illness 1’ and I boldly recommend it as a must read for everyone.

In it he debunked many of the age-long myths associated with mental illness.

The first myth that Prof Taiwo Sheikh debunked was that the mentally ill and always violent and dangerous. This misconception makes the ignorant minds always get them tied up in chains as a forestalling measure to their ‘violence’. This is not always the case as many are rather peaceful especially when they are on medications that calm them down.

The second myth drawn to our attention by Prof Taiwo Sheikh is that the ailment afflicts only the dull and unintelligent. He debunked it as the illness is no respecter of intellect and can afflict anyone whether brilliant or simpleton. History has shown many brilliant minds who were sufferers of the ailment. One of the best music talents Kanye West is open about his bipolar disorder condition. A prominent businessman and politician and another popular politician names withheld in Nigeria are mental health patients and so its really no big deal.

The third myth though this wasn’t written by Prof Taiwo Sheikh is that mental illness is solely caused by substance or drug abuse. While substance or drug abuse is a cause, it is not the sole cause as many factors like grief, genetics, disappointments, assault, provocation, environmental etc could cause mental illness and so it is unfair to label all mental health patients as junkies.

Prof Taiwo Sheikh also condemned the labelling that our cruel society gives the mentally challenged by calling them derogatory names like ‘kolo’ ‘were’ ‘nuts’ ‘cracked’ etc. Such labeling has a way of greatly dampening their self esteem and leading to more problems with some even contemplating suicide as a way out.

He said that the discrimination suffered by the mentally ill isn’t just by family, friends and society but by also the caregivers who ironically take care of them especially in the public hospitals where the patients are seen as mere contractual chattels. It is a common trend for the crisis intervention team to mercilessly beat up any patient who ‘misbehaves’.

What about the stress that the patients go through when they buy their medications? The insults, sneer talk by some of the hospital members of staff that attend to them is enough to break the heart of a lion.

Mental health advocates should court experts like Prof Taiwo Sheikh in their bid to de-stigmatize and demystify the illness. There should be the mixture of town and gown which Prof Taiwo Sheikh embodies. It is tragic that not only are there less than 200 psychiatrists for over 20 million patients in Nigeria, our ‘scholars’ hardly do research because of the hostile learning environment of the country which has forced out many of them abroad for greener pastures. The ones who chose to stay back are so weighed down by the pressures of daily living that they don’t have the luxury of time to engage in research which is viewed by many as a thankless job especially as there is the dearth of funding for it.

The corporate bodies can step in to fill in the lacuna. It is not enough for them to sponsor sports and entertainment or some random mental health seminar. They should fund mental health research as Nigeria is sitting on a health time bomb if about over 20 million of her citizens are afflicted with mental illness. It will negatively affect Corporate Nigeria and there is the need to finance research on mental health for the better well being of employees in the workforce and the country at large.

More academics should also get involved in mental health advocacy. It is not enough to write scholarly papers and publish in health journals which has a very restricted reading audience. The public should feel their pulse more as they have a lot to offer with their vast knowledge base. I must indeed commend Prof Taiwo Sheikh for his weekly pontification and intervention in the widely read Vanguard Newspaper despite his busy schedule of lecturing, research and writing academic papers. He is an activist scholar which Nigeria and Africa so desperately need.

Well done Prof!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/21/i-stand-with-prof-taiwo-sheikh-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Generations Of Mental Illnesses: Conformed Religion Dehumanized My Family By Cha by tonyluyi1985: 3:23pm On Apr 19
I spoke with a woman who was born and raised in Milton, Ohio. She currently works in a warehouse and is self-employed. In her free time, she likes to do gardening, bake, hike and read. She’s a victim and was able to escape a household and family of generations of abuse and trauma caused by heavy religious beliefs which resulted in mental illnesses.



Her story:



My name is Levi and I’m a biracial woman from a small town in Ohio. My family has a long history of being heavily ’religious’ Christians and Catholics. It all started with my great-great grandma Lily.



She would tell my great grandma how much she didn’t like her. She would call her a “gross bean pole” as a way of body shaming her, and she even held these beliefs at her death bed.



They grew up very poor having to eat racoons and make clothes from potato bags and they were never able to afford toys. My great grandma also told me that her husband’s mom was a very old-fashioned religious woman.



She would shame my great grandma for allegedly not having enough children. She had six. She believed her only purpose in life was to be a stay-at-home mom and keep bearing children.



My great grandma Babs was a terrible alcoholic when my grandma was growing up. She would be drunk by the morning and scream at the kids telling them to kill her. She also wouldn’t cook, so my grandma had to do all the work growing up.



Aunt Jay got married at a young age, so she was able to get away, while my aunt Bee got shamed for not being able to bare children. Great grandma Babs wound up becoming very religious.



However, great grandma Babs also put me through religious abuse as well. She would force certain outdated rules on me like pushing me to save myself for marriage and to get married in general. She believed I needed four or more kids, yet desire of the flesh was wrong.



She would say “a good believer needs to worship every day,” but absolutely no one is as good of a believer as she is allegedly. If anyone ever tried to say they were, it was an automatic lie.



She would force me to eat, then put me down for my weight. She would rant about how celebrities were sexy because they worked out for 8+ hours a day. She believed for me to get those ‘beautiful bodies’, I needed a stressful hard workout routine.



She constantly oversexualized me and told me I needed a big butt, perfect boobs, and a skinny waist. She said I wasn’t good enough for not having that body. She would also beat me with a book for not knowing how to pronounce words and beat me again for not picking it up off the ground.



She died when I was 12 so I was a literal prepubescent child when she was doing this. Now, my mother’s mom was controlling of every aspect of my life; where I went, how long I could stay, and I she believed I needed to spend 99.9% of my time at work.

If I didn’t work, she would punish me and I was only allowed to leave once or twice a week, but this lessened overtime. My mom dealt with the same as I did growing up.



Grandma was very controlling and didn’t allow her to do much; she would basically watch and police her every move. My grandpa was also very mean and strict.



Instead of doing my mother’s hair it was ‘easier’ to just cut it short like a masculine haircut. Grandpas’ dad was also physically abusive towards him, but I don’t know much of him because he died when I was only a few months old.



Around the age of 3 or 4 my mother would pick me up and throw me at the couch, over coffee tables, and at the wall. When I was five my grandma kicked us out of her rental, so we had to move in with my mom’s abusive boyfriend.



She would coerce him into abusing us. We were forced to call him father and consider him our dad, and if we didn’t, we got beat. Meanwhile, he would tell us to go f-ck ourselves and go to hell, and mom would call us wh-res and ungrateful little -itches.



We weren’t allowed to dye our hair because he saw it as ‘unladylike’ and we weren’t allowed to wear bikinis outside of our property because he thought it was too sexual for a kid.



We were also pulled out of public school because my mom’s boyfriend believed that they couldn’t teach us anything and that HE could teach us better. He wound up not even teaching us, our mom ended up being our teacher.



I have learning disabilities, so I have a hard time learning and comprehending. My mom would scream, yell, throw things, and hit me if I was having trouble and needed help with schooling.



We were also only allowed to do private Christian studying. My mom always made sure to let us know religion was the most important thing. I remember something being a big thing within my childhood that I assume was also a part of my mom’s childhood as well.



We were forced to eat soap anytime we did something ‘bad.’ We were also forced to get ‘Birthday spankings.’ My family has a history of beating children with objects, so these would leave us in so much pain.



My sister and I would get beaten with metal ladles and the family would boast about my cousin Milly beating her son DJ. She also beat him with a ladle and when it broke, she beat him harder.



I even grew up being my sisters physical, mental, and emotional punching bag. She would call me a fagg-t and a fat-ss. She ALWAYS made fun of me for my weight, so I developed a bad eating disorder and disliked my body because of it. I suffer from anorexia to this day because of it.



My sister has always been my mom’s favorite child and she never failed to make sure I was aware that I’m the accident. My mother struggles with BPD, bipolar disorder, and anxiety, and my sister struggles with depression and anxiety.



My aunts and uncles also struggle with bipolar disorder, and I was diagnosed with C-PTSD at 13. Almost all of us struggle with some form of mental illnesses, but most of them deny the existence of mental health, so they refuse treatment.



Mental illnesses run in our family, and we’ve been facing childhood abuse for generations. I have contact with none of them, but they don’t really care. It’s hard being estranged from the family, but I constantly remind myself it’s better this way.



It’s sad to see I’m the only one breaking the cycles, but nonetheless, it needs to be done. I feel so much happier and healthier now that they’re being broken, and I know my kids will get an amazing life because of it.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/19/generations-of-mental-illnesses-conformed-religion-dehumanized-my-family-by-chantel-jackson/
Health / Mental Illness Is Really No Big Deal By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 6:40am On Apr 19
When people say they are ill, it connotes ailments like malaria, typhoid, cough and other hitherto ‘mild ailments’. When they say they are sick what comes to mind are sicknesses like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, lupus etc. However, when afflicted by mental illnesses, what comes to the minds of many people including people who should know better is that it is a spiritual attack from the devil or to use Nigerian parlance ‘One’s village people are chasing the person.’ This explains why some ignorant people take psychiatric patients to spiritual homes for exorcism rather than to hospitals.

While I am a firm believer in science, it still has its limitations at least for now as there are many ailments for which there is no cure but can be effectively managed throughout the person’s lifetime. Ailments like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, sickle cell etc have no cure but with medications can be managed very well. Why don’t the parents or guardians of these sufferers or the patients themselves seek spiritual help? Why don’t they get chained or run from one spiritual home to the other in search of an elusive cure?

A Consultant Psychiatrist and CEO of Grey Insights, Dr. Shola Olowookere has this to say about mental illness as reported by Punch Newspapers on April 17, 2022. In his words “The mental health challenge is huge and it is just so sad that we are not talking about it enough. A lot of things are being swept under the carpet. There is not much emphasis and importance placed on our emotional health. Mental disorders are significant, and that is why we need to be reminding ourselves about them.

“We at Grey Insights are really trying to implement global best practices. We try to encourage people to talk about their emotions, which is something that we, as Nigerians, are not used to doing.

“We need to encourage people to speak up. We need to normalise that conversation. Driving past the Lekki toll plaza still brings a lot of anxiety to many as a result of the shootings of 2020. All these are gradually impacting the way we think, feel and behave, and we need to talk about this.

“We set this up for professionals, who are too busy taking care of other people and forget to care for themselves. It is a safe space for therapy and relaxation. It is a place to be at peace with oneself and just be in a happy place, forgetting about work stress for a moment.”

I have earlier written that mental health employees should be given adequate healthcare coverage in the workplace as the prevention of relapses would make for a more productive workforce in the country’s overall best interest. Billions of dollars is being lost to avoidable illnesses and breakdowns by mentally challenged employees.

Mental health stakeholders have a huge role to play to demystify this ailment and educate the public so that they deal in a more humane and compassionate way with the mentally challenged as the ailment can happen to anybody. There is the myth that mental illness is solely caused by drug or substance abuse and so it is the fault of the sufferers. This is not true as substance abuse is just one of the numerous causes. There are other factors like grief, lost expectations, dashed hopes, genetic factors etc that could be the raison d’etre for the illness and so in most cases its really not the patient’s fault and so there should be more empathy from the non-sufferers and society at large.

Some celebrities like Kanye West are open about their mental health challenges and the de-stigmatization agenda will have more bite and potency if more with the challenge can be open about their ailment as it will greatly inspire the millions of patients that all hope is not lost and they are not less human simply because they suffer from it. It will put a human face to the campaign and show that we are all vulnerable.

The ’I have a Dream Speech’ is one of the most widely read speeches of all time spoken by the legendary Reverend Martin Luther King Jr when he dreamt of a better deal for the black community that they wouldn’t be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I also dream of a day when mental health patients would freely post their visits to their psychiatrists and psychologists on their social media handles and the world would see it as no big deal as it will be equated to a regular and normal hospital visit.

Would this dream come to pass in my lifetime? Would I be like King who never saw the actualization of his dream and was even murdered for it? Would I be like the Biblical Prophet Moses who led the Israelites out of the desert but never saw the promised land?

Over to you time!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/19/mental-illness-is-really-no-big-deal-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Blessing Okoro Stands Up To Be Counted By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 7:27am On Apr 17
The death of Osinachi Nwachukwu, the popular Gospel artiste whose hit song ‘Ekwueme’ rocked the airwaves and was a must play in churches brings to the fore the issue of female domestic violence.

There is a nexus between domestic violence whether physical, emotional or psychological and mental health challenges. A victim of domestic violence in a marriage would most likely have mental illness.

It was revealed that Osinachi actually walked out of her marriage for about a year before being prevailed upon by some pastors to return which some people like Frank Edwards say was responsible for her death.

Popular relationship therapist, Blessing Okoro recently shared her horrible experience in her abusive marriage with her former husband. In her words: “Memory lane ….
So funny how I feel absolutely nothing watching this video
Lucky it feels good to write about you again after 12 years ..
2009 5th December.

“It’s been 12 years of my divorce .
You might be wondering why I am posting this after a long long time, i am posting because I want to show you how the men who hit women look like, they don’t always look like osinachis husband, they come in different package .

“Can you believe this innocent guy was the one I talked about for years now, yes he is the famous ex that took away my youth at 15 years and abused me.

“@josie_de_xii witnessed the beating a day to my wedding this day, he beat me in front of everybody.

“My kid sister @da_yan0 witnessed the day he beat me to coma, 2 weeks after our wedding, he was beating my lifeless body .My sister still have that fear till now .

“I heard he is married and still hitting his current wife, anyways that is her decision . Domestic violence is not a joke, this man here abused me to the point that I divorced him at 21 and I feel I did not punish him enough. I am posting this for him to reply me or say jack let me sue him for abuse and molestation .

“For 5 years you have not paid one kobo on your sons head, I needed people who know you to know You are that ex .

“Lucky I now have a voice, you knew I was going to be big and that was your greatest fear, but I am �.

“The death of osinachi brought back the rage and anger. Anyways it’s all over now and I am free .

“PS ,, see me smiling like goat but you no go know say them slap me that morning and a night to this morning .

“What did you do blessingceo that made this cute man beat you up, nothing, absolutely noting he just love the innocent vulnerable little gal. He was 13 years older than me oooo.

Many of her critics have questioned her competence in being a relationship coach when her marriage hit the rocks. Now we know better as it is better to be a divorcee and alive than to be dead in the name of keeping up appearances of being married. Osinachi may have lived assuming the allegations of wife battery was true if she had maintained her stance when she took a walk despite the pressure on her to come back to her matrimonial home. The video that surfaced of her innocent children praying for her not to die on her last birthday and the terrible stories her children told the media about her incessant battery by her hubby leaves even the stone-hearted with tears in their eyes.

Celebrities with their star power can condemn female and even male domestic violence. We recall that popular OAP, Ifedayo Olarinde a.k.a Daddy Freeze shocked the world when he said that he was a victim of domestic violence.

Blessing Okoro took a bold step in sharing her heart wrenching story with the world and other celebrities in abusive marriages or relationships should follow suit so that the already high cases of mental health in the nation wouldn’t be further exacerbated.

Blessing may have her fair share of controversies as she is one of the most trolled celebrities online but her decision to openly share her ugly experiences with domestic violence is highly commendable.

Women – the fairer sex ought to be protected from beasts who prowl around town masquerading as lovers or husbands. Women go through a lot and their mental health needs to be adequately protected if we are to develop as a nation and reach our potential.

Many more celebrities especially women should lend their voice to the condemnation of women battery and they should also prevent this from affecting the next generation by raising their boys to be lovers and defenders of women rather than seeing them as boxing objects.

While I condemn Will Smith’s slapping of Chris Rock at the last Oscar Awards, he showed his love for his wife Jada Pinkett Smith even though he went too far by his assault of the popular comedian. Men should stand up for and protect their wives rather than batter them.

Blessing Okoro has lent her loud voice to the discourse; I hope other celebrities and even ordinary women follow suit so that together we can build a more humane and compassionate society which shows unbridled love for the vulnerable and weak.

Popular Nollywood actress once said she was scared of marriage because divorce was something she vehemently loathed. She can lend her voice to the growing trend of female domestic violence even though not from a personal experience but because she is one of Africa’s biggest global arts exports. She is the only Nigerian actress to have featured on the defunct one of the world’s most watched shows – Oprah Winfrey’s show.

Chika Ike was allegedly a victim of domestic violence; she can shed more light on it and make her experience public as a way of using star power to effectively solving age-long societal challenges.

Blessing Okoro a big thumbs up!
SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/17/blessing-okoro-stands-up-to-be-counted-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Does Portable Zazu Need Professional Mental Health Help? By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 7:44pm On Apr 11
The emergence of the late Oladapo Olaitan Olanipekun a.k.a Da Grin on the music scene in the 2000’s led to a trend of many musicians singing in the indigenous languages and still commanding a massive followership.

The death of Da Grin in a fatal motor accident in 2010 led to the rise of Olamide a.k.a Badoo who effortlessly filled in the void by the departed Ogun born musician.

Habeeb Okikiola a.k.a Portable Zazu is a fast-rising indigenous artiste who is currently at his peak. The 28 years old crooner has released some hit songs backed a sturdy street credibility that has seen his reputation as an artiste soar to the High Heavens.

It was no surprise that he was signed up to Odogwu Bitters owned and promoted by controversial businessman, Obinna Oyiegbu a.k.a Obi Cubana as a brand ambassador for the whooping sum of fifty million naira.

As they say in Nigerian parlance, ‘God has finally picked his call.’

Like many celebrities the world over, Portable isn’t without his faults and his tragic flaw may eventually lead to his downfall.

Nigerian music lovers and followers woke up to the news earlier this week that he had fired his entire crew of the DJ, Promoter and Manager. Many criticized him for the ill-advised action with some opining that success had gotten into his head and brand as well as reputation managers averred that it was bad for his brand.

Not surprisingly, a Canadian based show promoter barred Portable from coming to his show and sought for the immediate revocation of his visa because of his earlier written action which portrayed him as highly unstable and unfit for his targeted audience.

Other foreign based show promoters may naturally follow suit and this may be demarketing for Portable as he would end up tragically as a mere local champion with no global export value – a huge shame when you consider the millions of Yoruba speakers in the Diaspora which will serve as a huge source of revenue for the short-sighted artiste.

The public still trying to digest the news of the rather erratic behaviour of the short-fused artiste, woke up to another scandal of his crashing his newly acquired Range Rover into the house of his neighbour while allegedly under the influence of hard drugs.

This led popular On Air Personality Dotun to write on the comment section of popular Instagram Influencer, Tunde Ednut ‘”You have no idea what you guys have created. We all go dey here dey watch the film… take him to rehab and leave all the sentiments around him becoming a star. Time and time waits for no man.. Goodbye and God bless” Ednut had shared a video of the auto crash and wrote; ”PORTABLE ZAZU needs to be really be more careful. Just saying this respectfully. ”

There is nothing bad or insultive about advising Portable to seek professional mental help. It is crass ignorance that makes many Nigerians believe that mental illness is a thing of shame and it won’t be a bad idea to use celebrities to de-stigmatize the ailment and let Nigerians know that it is like any other ailment that may require lifelong care and medication. Do Nigerians battling with hypertension, high blood pressure or diabetes suffer any form of stigmatization? It is high time we changed the narrative and if we are to win this noble war, celebrities should be co-opted by mental health advocates to penetrate their massive followership and lead the gradual vanguard for the wind of change to swiftly diffuse to the hardened minds of their teeming followers.

Imagine the impact of a photograph of Portable being seen in a rehabilitation centre and his sharing his experiences on his Insta Stories, the average man on the street who resonates with him through the consumption of the bitters drink will know that mental illness isn’t a demonic attack and the patients don’t need to be chained, beaten and maimed but showered abundant love as well as care.

The common saying that our political officer holders should be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation isn’t derogatory for instance but the message will resonate more with the masses if a street credible and marketable Portable can publicly endorse the activities of the mental health stakeholders. Such will go a long way to dispelling the myth surrounding the illness.

Over to you Portable Zazu!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/02/does-portable-zazu-need-professional-mental-health-help-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Well Done Betty Irabor By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 7:34pm On Apr 11
I have written for the umpteenth time that if we are to win the war against the stigmatization of the mentally challenged in Africa, then celebrities with their potent star power need to be co-opted into the fight as allies. It makes the battle more effective if some of these celebrities themselves are battling the challenge and choose to openly acknowledge their struggles. It will only make them look human in the face of their teeming fans who will realize that beneath the veneer of fortune and fame is a vulnerable and frail human being in need of emotional support and love.

If wealth and fame were all there was to life, how come many ‘successful’ people by its definition ended up committing suicide? From Ernest Hemingway to Marilyn Monroe – the list is endless.

I was glad that popular journalist and Publisher of Genevieve Magazine, Betty Irabor came out to the world and openly told her fans and the public of her struggles with mental health. Who could have imagined that such a successful woman – former journalist with Concord Newspapers, held her own in corporate communications in various blue-chip companies and her widely read magazine was an African clone of Oprah Winfrey’s O, her husband, Soni Irabor could be aptly described as the Larry King of Nigeria when he hosted his popular Soni Irabor Live show, could have secret battles with depression which made her seek therapy from even as far as the United Arab Emirates? Such is life as they say!

I am happy because when it happens to the hoi polloi, it is usually attributed to demonic attacks and they end up getting chained and brutally beaten. With Betty Irabor’s story, the conversation around it will hopefully change and they will seek treatment from competent doctors and mental health care workers.

Popular FMCG Brand Lipton is also worthy of commendation as they dedicated the women’s month – March to a campaign for the destigmatization of mental illness. It was captioned ‘#LiptonBreakTheBias.

In partnership with GoSlo, they hosted Betty Irabor to an event in Wheatbaker Hotel which was titled ‘Ultimate Conversation with Betty Irabor.’

I am glad that not only Betty Irabor is championing the awareness of this ailment, two big brands are also behind her and are doing their best to tell the world that mental illness is really no big deal and its like any other ailment like diabetes, high blood pressure or hypertension that can be well managed.

While I am happy that this conversation will greatly change the narrative, I want it to be more effective as only a grassroots campaign on the awareness of mental health will be really worth the struggle. The common man or the man on the street will definitely not be at Wheatbakers Hotel or any high brow hotel for that matter where there are endless conferences, seminars and workshops that do little or nothing to ameliorate his plight. The harsh economic policies have pushed him to the wall and he is contending with not only putting food on the table for himself and his family but also purchasing his medications. One way celebrities can help is if they can galvanize international donor agencies with an interest in health to give free medications to the mentally challenged in Africa starting from Nigeria just as they did with HIV drugs in the ‘Giant of Africa’ that have been free since 2006. This way, the impoverished mentally challenged Nigerian’s life will be directly impacted as it will save a huge chunk of his lean finances and prevent any occurrence of a relapse which will make him function effectively in the society.

Celebrities like Betty Irabor should go beyond the regular jaw jaw to using their huge brands and contacts built and cultivates over the years to positively influencing public policy so that the Man on the Clapham Omnibus can have a better deal when it comes to mental health as they really don’t understand all the Twitter hashtags and sloganeering since they are financially, emotionally and psychologically battered by anti-people policies to care about some conference that has no direct impact in their lives.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step goes the ancient Chinese cliché and we are glad that the likes of Betty Irabor have come out of the closet to tell the world their mental health stories. We only hope that more celebrities with the ailment can be open about it so that together we will win this noble battle.

Well done Betty Irabor!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/11/well-done-betty-irabor-by-tony-ademiluyi/
TV/Movies / Hope From Nollywood: Debut Of I Am Nazzy By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 5:16am On Apr 07
I have argued in an earlier article that one key partner to winning the war against the stigmatization of the mentally challenged in Nigeria is Nollywood because of their immense clout both at home and in the Diaspora.

I had previously criticized them in an article published on this platform as they portrayed the mentally challenged in Africa’s most populous nation and tragically the Giant on wobbly feet in very bad light.

The debut of Chinonso Arubayi’s movie ‘I am Nazzy’ which was directed by veteran actor, Kayode Peters hopes to change the ugly narrative of the bad portrayal of the Nigerian community of the mentally challenged.

I Am Nazzy throws up an interesting narrative on identity, as the lead character, who is a fast-rising artiste mistakenly switches places with a never-do-well who lacks the glitz and glamour she enjoys.

Arubayi has this to say about the movie: “The cast hopes to pull on the heartstrings of Nigerians with this romantic comedy while spreading the important message of appreciating the life you have. I am Nazzy shows that all that glitters is not gold; it is a story of life, dreams, hope and self-discovery.”

The interesting movie parades some of the best actors in the industry including Jidekene Achufusi, Jimmy Odukoya, Denrele Edun, IK Ogbonna, and Ada Jesus among others.

It is heart warming to see that slowly but surely there are better portrayals of the mentally challenged in Nigeria and the age-long stereotypic mindset of their being afflicted with demons in need of painful exorcism is fast being consigned to the garbage heap of history.

It is the duty to Nollywood to teach Nigerians that mental illness can happen to anyone irrespective of age, gender, creed, political affiliations or social status. It is like any other ailment like diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure etc that can be effectively managed.

I was aghast when a friend of mine who is a doctorate degree holder – his doctorate obtained from a British University and is a counter terrorism expert said that his ex wife’s sudden mental illness was a punishment from God for her being unfaithful to him after bringing her over to the UK from Nigeria. I was really shocked at the ridiculous and asinine mindset but that is the cruel reality of many Nigerians who display a high level of ignorance with regards to the ailment.

In the West, it is no big deal for celebrities to be open about their mental health struggles. Kanye West now known as Ye has brought his to the front burner for global discourse which will make the battle for the de-stigmatization of the ailment easier and swifter.

I look forward to the time when sufferers of the ailment will be open about it in Nigeria and not see their therapy sessions or visits to the shrink as something to be ashamed of. This dream can be hastened via the urgent intervention of Nollywood; ‘I am Nazzy’ has set the motion for it and we need more producers to sustain this noble momentum.

I honestly hope to witness this in my lifetime!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/07/hope-from-nollywood-debut-of-i-am-nazzy-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Thumbs Up To 9mobile’s Backing For Mental Health By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 3:57pm On Apr 06
If mental health advocates and activists are to win the war against the stigmatization of the African mentally challenged, a useful ally will be the corporate bodies as they have a gargantuan role to play in its noble fight.

It is no news that many employees who have mental health challenges keep their employers in the dark because they fear losing their jobs which only worsens their mental health as many relapse and become unproductive as a result of the silence. Many mentally challenged employees don’t disclose their condition to the Human Resources Department and as a result are denied mental health insurance coverage. It is a well-known fact that the unproductivity of these set of employees affects the business’s overall performance as there is a sturdy nexus between loss of man hours by mentally challenged employees and the business meeting its obligation to its stakeholders.

I was happy when telecommunications giants 9mobile recently held the fifth edition of its health talk series with this year’s theme as Mental Health – The Myth, The Challenge and Recovery.

It featured one of Africa’s leading mental health advocate and life coaches – Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri who debunked the myth of it as a spiritual affliction – a view generally and widely held by most Africans which leads to the dehumanization of the mentally ill in the continent. She said that the illness is like any other non-communicable disease and that it can be properly managed. She went on to say that there are triggers to it like a family history, grief, domestic violence, poverty as a result of the socio-economic hardship etc.

I am very pleased that 9mobile championed the open discussion of this hitherto taboo as it will go a long way to lead to a better deal for the mentally challenged in the corporate world and also to the de-stigmatization of the sufferers in the wider society as corporate bodies play a pivotal role in the nation’s economy.

In the West, some activist organizations have devised a means of tracking how corporate bodies there attend to the needs of the mentally challenged and the reports are always published on a regular basis to challenge them to do more. That culture should be imported here by mental health advocates as a way of keeping the companies on their toes and extracting commitments from them to do more for the mentally challenged especially their employees.

9 Mobile, a caring brand indeed – that has evolved from the pristine stage of just making profits has greatly won my admiration as they have opened the Pandora’s Box for critical discourse revolving around mental health and its ability for the sufferers to effectively manage it and still live useful lives.

I would want the HR Department of 9mobile to go a step further to fighting for mental health insurance coverage for its employee sufferers, hiring the services of a therapist as even non mental health challenged people still need therapy as a result of work pressures and having more regular mental health awareness discourse which can lead the sufferers in its employment to open up to the HR Department or their managers without any fear of victimization.

The age-long Chinese cliché says ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.’ I am glad that 9mobile has at least taken that bold step which we hope will be emulated by the other corporate bodies.

A sturdy and gargantuan thumbs up to 9 Mobile for proudly identifying with the mental health challenged community!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/03/thumbs-up-to-9mobiles-backing-for-mental-health-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / My Love For Booze Has Made Me A Lifelong Patient By John Adeleke by tonyluyi1985: 3:34am On Apr 06
Our correspondent John Adeleke in a trip to Enugu met an outpatient with the pseudonym James Okoli who told him how his travails as a mental health patient stemmed from his uncontrolled love for alcohol. Read his story:

My assumed name is James Okoli and I was born and bred in Enugu and still reside here. I was the second born and first son in a family of five and still have fond memories growing up as my family was akin to that of the Middle Class.

My Dad told me he was very brilliant and had dreams of becoming a lawyer as one of his role models was the Late Chief Chukwuma Christian Onoh, former Governor of Anambra State in the Second Republic who was so wealthy that he had over one hundred houses scattered all over Enugu alone not counting the ones he had in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and abroad.

Unfortunately, the Civil War truncated his ambition and after the war had to go into business as his parents lost everything during the war and were financially handicapped to give him the much-desired tertiary education.

Dad worked hard and mum also supported him as a primary school teacher and so were materially comfortable.

My Dad secretly wanted me to become a lawyer ostensibly to compensate for his not becoming one. He didn’t tell me openly but even at that young age, I understood his body language. He would buy the Thisday Newspapers on Tuesdays where they had their law page then edited by the brilliant Funke Aboyade SAN. I recall when Fidelis Oditah QC SAN became a Queens Counsel at the age of 39 in 2003, my dad celebrated the feat as if he knew him personally.

I got admission to the University of Nigeria Nsukka to study law as I personally loved the profession and was influenced by the activism of Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Dr. Olisa Agbakoba. I wanted to make a difference as a lawyer cum activist in the lives of the masses. My dad was thrilled when the admission came through and we threw a large party that day.

UNN was fun and I was actively involved in students’ unionism as I was a parliamentarian and was elected Speaker of the House in my 4th year. That didn’t affect my studies as I graduated with a 2.1 which made my parents very happy.

I went to Law School in Lagos and did my NYSC in Benin.

I decided to move to Lagos as it was the nation’s economic hub and that was where my role models resided.

I received my first Baptism of Fire here as I discovered that beneath the glam and glamour of the legal profession in Nigeria was a sinister cabal of senior lawyers who were hell bent on frustrating the junior ones. I pounded the streets of Lagos for one full year looking for a job in a good law firm where I could build a career. I then painfully found that that getting into a good law firm went beyond having good grades in school, you must have a godfather to pull the strings for you. Its either your parents were in the profession or they were wealthy with influential lawyer friends who could fix you in their firms. I got a job with one after a year and I was paid a measly fourty thousand naira per month which could hardly take me home. My dad’s business wasn’t how it used to be anymore and so there were high expectations on me in terms of providing the black tax.

I endured insults, ridicule from my toxic principal who had a notorious habit of owing salaries which left me in huge debt. After three agonizing years I quit the job and partnered with a friend to set up shop.

Independent law practice was hell as we weren’t really getting lucrative briefs. It was at this time I took to drinking all kinds of alcohol and engaging in football betting as a diversionary tactic. I became drunk most of the time which embarrassed me so badly that my friend quit the firm and went solo which hit me hard as he had more social capital than me.

I was now more known in bars than in the law courts and was a total emotional wreck as I saw myself as a huge failure. It got to a point that I started begging to fund my alcoholic habit.

The news of my drunkenness got to my parents and it made them very sad. My mother attributed it to the lack of a woman in my life and she felt marriage would make me more responsible and so she match made me with the daughter of a close friend of hers who was yet to go to the university.

We got married despite hardly knowing each other and we had three children in quick succession. The arrival of the supposed bundles of joy only made my drinking habits worse as the struggle to feed them took a huge toll on my rather fragile emotional health.

My dad convinced me to return back home since I wasn’t doing well in Lagos and I took up one of his flats which was vacated by a tenant. My love for alcohol only got worse since I had more disposable income as I wasn’t paying rent. What baffled me was that I wasn’t violent towards my wife despite my frustrations and she really stood by me.

One day after watching my favourite football club Chelsea lose a game, I drank myself to stupor and found myself the following day in the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Enugu where my wife narrated that I made such a fool of myself the previous day that it was crystal clear even to the blind that I had a psychiatric challenge.

I spent three months there and the doctors warned me that alcohol tampered greatly with antidepressants and so I had to give up the habit. That warning fell on deaf ears as I continued to abuse alcohol and became a regular face as an in-patient in the hospital.

My dad’s sudden death jolted me greatly but it was a blessing in disguise as it made me rise up to the new responsibility of being the man of the house as his eldest son.

I forced myself to give up alcohol after battling severe withdrawal syndromes and at last found myself free. Every bad habit has a consequence though as the doctors told me pointblank that I would have to be on medication for some time – I have tried in vain to find out how long but they keep giving me diplomatic answers.

I took my law practice more seriously and things have picked up a bit; I even wanted to return back to Lagos but the doctors counselled against it as they felt I should spend more time in Enugu to be more matured to face life’s cruel blows.

I thank God for the precious gift of life but my cross to bear is the twice daily intake of unpleasant pills. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands of time!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/04/my-love-for-booze-has-made-me-a-lifelong-patient-by-john-adeleke/
Health / Does Portable Zazu Need Professional Mental Health Help? By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 3:27am On Apr 06
The emergence of the late Oladapo Olaitan Olanipekun a.k.a Da Grin on the music scene in the 2000’s led to a trend of many musicians singing in the indigenous languages and still commanding a massive followership.

The death of Da Grin in a fatal motor accident in 2010 led to the rise of Olamide a.k.a Badoo who effortlessly filled in the void by the departed Ogun born musician.

Habeeb Okikiola a.k.a Portable Zazu is a fast-rising indigenous artiste who is currently at his peak. The 28 years old crooner has released some hit songs backed a sturdy street credibility that has seen his reputation as an artiste soar to the High Heavens.

It was no surprise that he was signed up to Odogwu Bitters owned and promoted by controversial businessman, Obinna Oyiegbu a.k.a Obi Cubana as a brand ambassador for the whooping sum of fifty million naira.

As they say in Nigerian parlance, ‘God has finally picked his call.’

Like many celebrities the world over, Portable isn’t without his faults and his tragic flaw may eventually lead to his downfall.

Nigerian music lovers and followers woke up to the news earlier this week that he had fired his entire crew of the DJ, Promoter and Manager. Many criticized him for the ill-advised action with some opining that success had gotten into his head and brand as well as reputation managers averred that it was bad for his brand.

Not surprisingly, a Canadian based show promoter barred Portable from coming to his show and sought for the immediate revocation of his visa because of his earlier written action which portrayed him as highly unstable and unfit for his targeted audience.

Other foreign based show promoters may naturally follow suit and this may be demarketing for Portable as he would end up tragically as a mere local champion with no global export value – a huge shame when you consider the millions of Yoruba speakers in the Diaspora which will serve as a huge source of revenue for the short-sighted artiste.

The public still trying to digest the news of the rather erratic behaviour of the short-fused artiste, woke up to another scandal of his crashing his newly acquired Range Rover into the house of his neighbour while allegedly under the influence of hard drugs.

This led popular On Air Personality Dotun to write on the comment section of popular Instagram Influencer, Tunde Ednut ‘”You have no idea what you guys have created. We all go dey here dey watch the film… take him to rehab and leave all the sentiments around him becoming a star. Time and time waits for no man.. Goodbye and God bless” Ednut had shared a video of the auto crash and wrote; ”PORTABLE ZAZU needs to be really be more careful. Just saying this respectfully. ”

There is nothing bad or insultive about advising Portable to seek professional mental help. It is crass ignorance that makes many Nigerians believe that mental illness is a thing of shame and it won’t be a bad idea to use celebrities to de-stigmatize the ailment and let Nigerians know that it is like any other ailment that may require lifelong care and medication. Do Nigerians battling with hypertension, high blood pressure or diabetes suffer any form of stigmatization? It is high time we changed the narrative and if we are to win this noble war, celebrities should be co-opted by mental health advocates to penetrate their massive followership and lead the gradual vanguard for the wind of change to swiftly diffuse to the hardened minds of their teeming followers.

Imagine the impact of a photograph of Portable being seen in a rehabilitation centre and his sharing his experiences on his Insta Stories, the average man on the street who resonates with him through the consumption of the bitters drink will know that mental illness isn’t a demonic attack and the patients don’t need to be chained, beaten and maimed but showered abundant love as well as care.

The common saying that our political officer holders should be subjected to a psychiatric evaluation isn’t derogatory for instance but the message will resonate more with the masses if a street credible and marketable Portable can publicly endorse the activities of the mental health stakeholders. Such will go a long way to dispelling the myth surrounding the illness.

Over to you Portable Zazu!

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/02/does-portable-zazu-need-professional-mental-health-help-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / Towards Flourishing Mental Health –article 3 By Caroline Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 3:15am On Apr 06
EXERCISING HUMILITY AND CHARITY

In Article 2, there was a discussion on the need for living out a relationship with one’s Creator, which for many may seem odd or incomprehensible; but it is very possible and actually, it is within the reach of every person. The whole edifice of the human person is built on this indisputable fact that human origin comes from God Almighty; conviction about this fact is a predisposition to exercising the two principal virtues of HUMILITY and CHARITY.

Adages attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates are “Man, know thyself” and “An unexamined life is not worth living”. This means that the study of human nature had been on-going long before the advent of organized religion like Christianity or even Judaism. What is known of human nature in the present times is a synthesis of the discoveries of the early Greek philosophers and organized religion.

Human Nature; Self-knowledge

Self- knowledge is crucial to maintaining and growing in flourishing mental health. Christian Philosophy identifies weaknesses of human nature and are summarized by PRIDE, COVETOUSNESS, LUST, ANGER, GLUTTONY, ENVY, SLOTH. (Acronym is PCLANGENS). Human nature has been wounded or weakened by sin and is predisposed to engaging in any of these vices or weaknesses; the opposite or contrary virtues are HUMILITY, LIBERALITY, CHASTITY, MEEKNESS,TEMPERANCE, BROTHERLY LOVE, DILIGENCE.(Acronym is HULICHAMTEMBROD).

The Intellect and Will

These are the highest powers of the human person; The faculties of the Intellect and Will reside in the spiritual soul. Through the Intellect, one thinks and reasons, seeks the truth, form convictions; with the Will, one acts or refrains from acting, based on prior convictions or decisions. Since human nature has been weakened or wounded, it follows that the Intellect and Will have been tainted with PCLANGENS. Manifestations of weaknesses of these faculties include all manner of selfishness and self-centeredness, unwillingness to serve unconditionally, procrastination, disorderliness, unwillingness to learn, boastfulness, sadness at not being publicly recognized or extolled, fear of being humiliated, ridiculed or suffering rebukes, and a host of other vices associated with any of the capital vices, chief of which are PRIDE and SLOTH. The more the person succumbs to the influence of these vices, the more diminished the mental health status will be; but flourishing mental health will result from exercising the virtues (HULICHAMTEMBROD).

Difficulties in Exercising Virtues/Way forward

The greatest challenge of growing in virtues and consequently in flourishing mental health stems from the natural tendency to selfishness/self-centeredness found in human nature. The way forward is not simply to succumb to these weaknesses, satisfying one’s whims and caprices, seeking justification and excuses for our inordinate actions. This situation will engender very low levels of mental health on the long run. For instance, we can feel a temporary joy /elation after succumbing to sloth(laziness) and thus succeeding in avoiding an unpleasant or difficult task and leaving it for others to do. The consequences of these evasions will eventually follow when the opportunities to have grown in competence and experience. Consequences like reprimand, loss of promotion, getting fired from work due to incompetence etc can all be very demoralizing; Unfortunately, pride can still influence the intellect into refusal to admit faults, mistakes, in competencies/negligence’s etc. and cast blame on others, on system, except oneself; misery will increase and mental health flourishing will be greatly compromised; in fact, in such situations, pathologies like Depression, Victim- mentality can be engendered.

HUMILITY

This is a key virtue or mother virtue to be exercised at all times if one is to aim at flourishing mental health. Humility is knowing the truth and acknowledging the Truth about oneself, God and others. The key questions to be asked all the time is “Who am i?” The answer should be “A son or daughter of God” “Who is God?”-the answer should be -”God is the Supreme Being, Infinite in all perfections, Creator of all things; Who keeps us in existence and to Whom we shall render an account at the end of our lives. “Who are others?”-the answer should be “Sons and daughters of God”.

With the above questions and answers attended to, we can then know that we, as human beings are creatures, dependent on the Creator and owing allegiance to Him; striving to please Him at all times, being convinced that it for our own good, since pleasing Him will mean doing good and avoiding evil. There was a post that went viral about 2 weeks ago about someone who travelled to Japan for a course and left his laptop in the train station; he went back after several days and found the laptop intact; This shows that the virtue of Honesty is lived intensely in Japan. All cultures and religious sects in the world go by the maxim “Do good and avoid evil”; Indeed, the Commandments of God have been inscribed in human hearts. All human beings possess a rational nature with an inclination to live according to reason and thus know the moral truth; if they do the right thing and live virtuously, they will be acting in accordance with their human nature; all human beings have an innate capacity for virtue. All people can do right or wrong, regardless of whether or not they believe in God. Becoming virtuous or doing good acts is a process and not an event; it involves the Emotions. The While person and the Community. There are two points to be noted –Firstly, one must be aware or able to recognize that there is a right way or a wrong way to act; Secondly, we need to freely choose our responses.

Humbly accepting who we are, where we are from and accepting others as fellow creatures with whom we are to live and work with to attain the End for which we have been created, will indeed help one to flourish immensely in mental health; We will be able to think, speak and live the truth always, which will always be a source of peace of mind. It will greatly eliminate unnecessary fears about what others think about us or fear of failure etc, all of which diminish mental health considerably. The truth is that we have nothing of our own; all we have is as a result of having cooperated with the grace of God; grace is a free gift of God accessible to everyone.

CHARITY

Charity is synonymous with Love and it is the summary of all the virtues; All cultures, religions including paganism extol this August virtue. St. Paul in his 1st Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor.13) says that Charity is kind, patient, hopeful, believing, enduring, rejoicing in truth etc. With all these qualities ascribed to Charity, it means it involves a lot of sacrifice to be able to exercise the virtue of charity; it will entail going ot of one’s comfort zone to be able to please God and to serve others. Research shows that exercising love increases the “Happy Hormones “of Dopamine and Endorphins and decreases the stress hormone of cortisol. There comes about a sense of being useful and making meaningful contributions to society

Making the choice of exercising the virtues – in particular, Humility and Charity will go a long wat to boosting mental health and leading to an overflow of flourishing mental health in oneself and in others.

Caroline Ademiluyi is a Lagos, Nigeria based Pharmacist

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/04/06/towards-flourishing-mental-health-article-3-by-caroline-ademiluyi/
Health / Yaba Left: Why Can’t Weekends Be Clinic Days? By Tony Ademiluyi by tonyluyi1985: 11:40am On Mar 24
Lagos used to be the political and economic capital of Nigeria and arguably the economic nerve centre of the entire West Africa. It was the government of the then Military Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida that shifted the political capital to Abuja in 1991 after he nearly lost his life in an abortive coup d’etat spearheaded by the Late Major Gideon Orkar who was agitating for a better deal for his marginalized Middle Belt Region.

Lagos – the smallest state of Nigeria still remains the most attractive state in the most populous African nation because of the numerous opportunities abound therein – its seaport, headquarters of most companies in the country and a large market – well over twenty million residents.

The House of Representatives recently said that about twenty million Nigerians suffered from one form of mental ailment or the other which means that a sizeable number can be said to be domiciled in Lagos because of the lure of the state.

The most popular psychiatric hospital there is the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba popularly known as Yaba Left which is located in the popular middle-class suburb of Yaba.

It can be said albeit arguably that the largest concentration of the mentally challenged can be said to be in Lagos.

The clinic days in Yaba are on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

It is a well-known fact that there is a very high level of stigmatization and discrimination against the mentally challenged in Nigeria largely due to ignorance and sheer vitriol. A substantial number of these patients are employees as the challenge of being a successful entrepreneur in Lagos is big enough to break the heart of a lion. Most health insurances in the work place doesn’t cover mental health and there is no national mental health insurance policy meaning that the outpatients have to pay out of their pockets. As if that is not bad enough, they have to seek permission from their employers to go for their medical appointments. Most wouldn’t disclose their health challenge for fear of being fired making it a herculean task seeing their doctors as and at when due.

Mental healthcare is arguably the least regarded in Nigeria; what can explain the non-availability of doctors on weekends when these employees in most cases will be free and can easily see their doctors? It is ridiculous for a government owned institution not to be available 247 in a country where telemedicine hasn’t yet gained grounds as the patients prefer a live visit and chat with the shrinks.

The care received in Yaba Left should be patient centred and not institution centred. The hospital should exist for the patients and not the other way round. An outpatient should be able to walk into the hospital on a Saturday or Sunday and see his doctor rather than on a week day as frequent appointments could raise a huge red flag and possible dismissal from work in a country with an unemployment rate of over 33% and under employment put at over 50% according to the National Bureau of Statistics. No patient in his or her right senses will love to publicly disclose their status for fear of a backlash which may result in a job loss in a country where there is no social security.

Imagine if a patient has a relapse at work! Isn’t that worse? The trauma alone is enough for him or her to permanently walk away from the job. What about a blacklist to other employers? The costs of not having clinic days on a weekend are humongous.

Businesses in Nigeria and Lagos which is being used as a microcosm lose billions of naira due to the poor mental healthcare of their employees. Employees’ productivity is drastically reduced due to poor mental healthcare and the governmental system isn’t supportive if the only clinic days are during the times that these patients are supposed to be at work earning their bread to take care of themselves and their dependents.

It is high time Lagos which prides itself as a mega city initiates the discourse for better mental healthcare of its residents which includes employees who are boxed into a corner in not having the choice of seeing their doctors on weekends which is in their best interest. It is not enough to chant anti stigmatization and discrimination slogans, Yaba Left should review its non-inclusion of weekends as clinic days in the best interest of the patients as the clamour for the eradication of stigmatization is a marathon and not a relay.

Many patients whom I have interacted with and who are employees live in constant fear of being fired from work and would prefer to see their doctors on weekends when they are free at work. Their fears are understandable and it is up to Yaba Left to do the needful by working out a modality of having weekends included as clinic days so that together we will have a healthier nation powered by people of sound mental health.

Doctors should be less selfish and be reminded of their Hippocratic Oath to save lives which includes the mental health of patients within their care.

Yaba Left should lead from the front.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/02/23/yaba-left-why-cant-weekends-be-clinic-days-by-tony-ademiluyi/
Health / My Cross: Two Of My Beloved Sons Are Mentally Challenged by tonyluyi1985: 11:34am On Mar 24
The Editor-In-Chief on a recent trip to Abuja met a woman who has two sons and a daughter. She shared her touching story of her two beloved sons being mentally challenged and how it affected their lives especially while they were younger.

Read her story:

My name for the purpose of this story is Mrs. Grace Odidi. I am Berom from Plateau State but married to a wonderful Isoko man for close to four decades now. Our friends say we look like Siamese Twins as we are fondly called ‘I go die couple’ because of our undying love for each other which is waxing stronger by the day.

Marriage took me to Lagos which was then the political capital of Nigeria and we had our three wonderful children in quick succession. Two boys and a girl. The age difference is just two years each and we were a close-knit family showered with so much love.

Our nightmare started in 2003 when our second son finished from the secondary school. He was admitted to Yaba Left where he made wild claims of being a cocaine and heroin user. I and the father knew they were false because those hard drugs are very expensive and we don’t have the financial muscle to have him indulge in that destructive habit. He was initially admitted into the drug ward before his transfer out of it shortly after when he confessed that he didn’t really take drugs but did it to draw attention to the ‘lack of love’ that he suffered as a child. I wondered what he meant by lack of love as I and his father so showered him and his siblings with love that we ensured that they were all day students so as to spend more time with them and monitor their growing up closely. He was then diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression. He spent the next few years in various psychiatric hospitals across the country both private and public as his relapses were frequent. He managed despite the health challenge to go to a private University where he relapsed twice and graduated two years later than his mates. He managed to go for the National Youth Service Corps in Lagos but relapsed in the course of it as he unilaterally stopped taking his medication which made him lose his juicy place of primary assignment. He managed to finish and by that time his dad and I made the decision to relocate to Abuja. He joined us there and fit in well as he got a teaching job in a private school somewhere in Gwarimpa and to God be the Glory hasn’t relapsed in two years now and we hope it stays permanently that way.

My eldest child and son’s health challenge started in 2007 while he was a medical student. His grades were poor which was an adjustment shock as he was very brilliant in secondary school. He was admitted in the Government Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Abuja as he was studying close to the capital city and has had three more hospitalizations since then in different government hospitals and a private one as well. He ended up switching courses to bio-chemistry which he thoroughly enjoyed. He did his NYSC and has changed jobs several times carefully managing it despite two relapses since his graduation.

His last relapse was his fault then as he got too religious after joining a new generation church and stopped taking his medication but that was three years ago and he has been fine since then diligently taking it on a daily basis.

He has been fine and is doing very well at work. Their sister is married and has made me a grand mother of two and it is my hope that my sons find good girls to marry as marriage is indeed a very beautiful thing.

When asked how I coped with such a stigmatizing disease when it afflicted my two beloved sons, I told them that God was my staying power and it has made me more compassionate with other people. I have also been leading a quiet vanguard for the ending of the stigma against the mentally challenged as for many of them it is not their fault. Life is too short to spew out so much hate and the world would be a better place as sung by the legendary music star, Michaeal Jackson if we can only heal it.

SOURCE: https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/03/09/my-cross-two-of-my-beloved-sons-are-mentally-challenged/
Health / Feeling Suicidal: Got Rejected By Two Fiancées by tonyluyi1985: 11:26am On Mar 24
The Publisher met a Port Harcourt based man who despite his financial and professional success finds it difficult to select a life partner ostensibly because of his mental health challenge.

Read his story:

My assumed name is Tonye Pepple. I am a Kalabari man from Buguma in Port Harcourt and hail from one of the royal families there. My Grand father actually was a King and I still benefit from the circumstances of my birth decades after his earthly transition into glory.

I studied chemical engineering for my first degree in the University of Manchester and had my Masters Degree in petroleum engineering at the prestigious Imperial College both in the UK.

I had the choice to stay back and work in the UK as I am a British Citizen but I chose to come back home to contribute my quota towards nation building as I deeply felt that Nigeria badly needed my expertise. I had participated in a quiz competition where I argued against brain drain and I felt committed to walking the talk.

I did the compulsory national youth service corps in The Shell Petroleum Development Company, Warri – the country’s largest International Oil Company as a wellsite engineer. I was trained by the best of hands in the industry and even went offshore a couple of times.

I had my first mental health challenge episode while I was in the UK during my masters degree. I lost my mum whom I was very emotionally attached to during that period and that was when I lost it. I even had to spend two years for the one-year masters as I was hospitalized.

After refusing to take my medication, I finally came to terms with my new health challenge and was fiercely determined to succeed despite it as my strong dad challenged me to excel and the love I was shown by my siblings and some of my friends was overwhelming.

I got two job offers from Shell and Exxon Mobil after my NYSC. On dad’s advice I chose Shell as he said they had a better career development program and was arguably the best in the country. Also, in terms of promotion prospects, Shell fared better as it was the only IOC with an indigenous Managing Director.

The Human Resources Department was aware of my health challenge and it was covered adequately by my HMO. I threw myself into my job with the ferocity of a lion and got rewarded with rapid promotions as well as a short term international assignment which I spent in Brunei and a five year cross posting which I spent in its headquarters at the Hague in The Netherlands.

The big question which was being asked was when was I getting married? What was I waiting for? I was tall, dark, handsome and rich. I had even turned down job offers from some rival IOC’s as evidence of my employability so what was really stopping me from settling down to use Nigerian parlance?

Even before my health challenge, I was far from being a Casanova as I had always been quite conservative in the matters of the heart. My challenge only made me more reserved and withdrawn as I had a deep fear of rejection by the opposite sex on account of it.

I met a couple of beautiful ladies who were also upwardly mobile, went on a couple of dates but I didn’t quite find the right fit as I was either bored too soon or we were just plainly incompatible. Two nubile maidens would however leave deeply rooted scars in my fragile heart.

The first was a lawyer whom I met via a dating app. At the time we met online, she was a corporate attorney working in a big law firm in the UK and she made it clear that she wasn’t going to relocate to Nigeria. As time went on, she fell in love with me and gladly accepted a job offer to work in the legal department of one of the IOC’s in Port Harcourt. I kept my health status away from her for fear of rejection and I felt she should completely fall in love with me first before spilling the beans. It wasn’t my intention in all honesty to either deceive her or lead her on. I just felt that it was the best way to protect my interest.

We went on a well-deserved holiday to an exotic resort in Seychelles where I popped the question. She immediately said a big yes and I slipped the ring with her name encrusted on it into her third finger on her left hand.

Wedding preparations began in earnest and my dad was very happy for me as I was the last born and only unmarried child of his.

I cannot forget Valentine’s Day that year when I took her for dinner and opened up to her about my health challenge. She cried like a baby and accused me of being sinister by hiding it from her all these years and making her fall in love with me only to shatter her heart. She flung the ring into my face and blocked me everywhere both on phone and social media.

The wedding was called off and a mutual friend drew my attention to an Instagram post of hers where she wrote that she was glad that she was just rescued from eternally living the life of a lie and that she just dodged a bullet by nearly marrying a sick man. That got me so depressed that I took a sick leave and checked into a private psychiatric hospital.

I stayed off dating for about three years and was approaching 40. Many of my friends and colleagues were married and raising families. Some even thought I was secretly gay and wondered why I was still single. A few overzealous ones tried to matchmake me but I would have none of that.

I got involved with a psychiatric nurse and opened up to her from the beginning to avoid the mistake of the previous one. She said there was no problem as she understood and assured me of her unflinching love which had no iota of pity.

She came from a poor home and was the eldest child. I saw no qualms in helping her pick the tabs of some of the responsibilities of her younger ones as I was blindly in love with her.

She was very beautiful – fair in complexion and buxom in stature with large bosoms and a wonderful behind which made me the envy of my peers even from some of the married ones.

I proposed to her in London – her first trip out of the country funded by me and she accepted it gladly. She told me of her plans to reside in London for better career prospects and convinced me to agree to a plan of me being resident in Nigeria but she and our future kids would be based in the UK. I discussed this with the HR and they gave it my blessings and even approved an extra month for me to leave work so as to spend time with her and the kids when they start coming.

A randy friend of mine once told me that my fiancée wasn’t whom I thought she was – he tried to make me see that she was only manipulating me and that she was an incorrigible flirt having caught her in compromising positions with some random men. I didn’t believe him one bit and even nearly told her. He then proposed to bring in an IT professional friend of his to bug her phone which will show me her call logs, texts and Whatsapp messages.

I couldn’t believe what I saw – she had a secret fiancé who she exchanged raunchy sexual messages with. She insulted me and said she was only using me to get an indefinite leave to remain in the UK – something similar to a permanent residence then she will divorce me and get a substantial chunk of my assets. No wonder she desperately wanted us to get married in London. She would then bring over her true fiancé and they will live happily ever after. One message tore my heart to shreds – ‘How do you think I will spend the rest of my life with an insane man whose sanity is only guaranteed by daily ingestion of poison?’ This broke me and it took the grace of God for me not to have a relapse.

I called off the marriage; she begged and cried and even emotionally blackmailed me but I stood my ground.

I had gotten tired of being rejected for an ailment that was due to no fault of mine which can happen to anyone. I am now close to 50 and I am enjoying my single life as the reality is that not all mortals will eventually get married. Some like me will find fulfilment in being single.

I cannot say that I live the life of a monk as I have friends with benefits and occasionally go to strip clubs and exotic brothels but I ensure that I don’t have any emotional attachments to any of the ladies.

Will I still get married? Honestly, I don’t know and I really don’t care despite the taunting and mockery! As multiple award-winning artiste, Dr. Alban sang in one of his hit songs ‘It’s my life!’ I sing the song daily in my subconscious and reassure myself that I am better off single and happy than having a sham of a marriage and ending up being miserable for the rest of this life that is too short to be sad in.
https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/03/10/feeling-suicidal-got-rejected-by-two-fiancees/
Health / How Culture Denied Me Of My Wife by tonyluyi1985: 6:14am On Mar 24
The Publisher on a recent trip to Onitsha met an educated trader who said that his plans to marry a beautiful lady from Anambra State was truncated by culture which was rather discriminatory and stigmatizing. Read his story:

My assumed name for the purpose of this story is Emeka Okonkwo. I am from Abia State but was born and bred in Onitsha, the economic nerve centre of Anambra State.

My parents were indigent and so as a teenager I was apprenticed to a wealthy trader here where I passed through the Igbo apprenticeship system whereby a young boy is taught the ropes of business and is financially compensated after a period of time.

I learnt the trade fast as I was determined to lift my family out of poverty as the eldest child. My then master was very good to me and I was duly compensated after the expiration of the tenure.

Shortly after I set up shop, I began to go to China to import goods and life was very good to me as I was economically uplifted. I still felt there was something lacking in my life which was the lack of a good formal education as I didn’t finish secondary school. I could communicate very well in English because of the exposure I got from the children of my former master who were attending good schools but I still felt the need to fill in that gap.

I went back to school on a part time basis after the close of work and passed the GCE as well as JAMB exams which enabled me gain admission to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I studied Business Administration in their sandwich program.

I finished the course and even did a Masters Degree at the University of Nigeria Nsukka which then earned me the appellation of a lion.

I was now well over 30 and there was pressure on me from my parents to get married so as to give them grand children before they joined their ancestors.

As an eligible bachelor, I had more than my fair share of women and I was somewhat of a playboy as these beautiful nubile maidens flocked to me like bees to the honey nectar because of my newly found wealth.

I was really tired of these leeches and wanted a God-fearing lady who would consolidate my wealth to be my wife.

I met a lady who incidentally was my account officer who hailed from Onitsha. I was impressed by her in depth knowledge of financial matters and she had helped me grow my account. She was a rare combination of beauty and brains and her fair complexion really drove me crazy.

She was just recovering from a heartbreak from a Diaspora lover when I asked her out. She initially played hard to get but finally succumbed. We got along very well for two years till I popped the question while we were on a well-deserved vacation in Ibiza, Spain. She replied in the affirmative and we met each other’s parents and family members.

My agony started when her father said they would have to conduct a thorough investigation into my family to ascertain whether they could hand over their darling daughter to me. I was told to come back after a month.

That waiting period was the longest of my life as I constantly checked the time and cursed its snail speed.

After the expiration of the period, her dad asked me to confirm something which his investigators found out: I remember his words clearly from his booming voice: ‘Does insanity run in your family?’

I took a deep breath and opened up to him that my immediate younger brother and a distant cousin battled with a mental health challenge and took him down memory lane of how it all started.

His words were stern: ‘I am sorry we cannot give you our daughter to marry as we don’t want our grandchildren to be affected as it is hereditary.’

I begged and begged but he stuck to his guns. My fiancée still reassured me of her love for me but made it clear that she couldn’t defy her parents as it was against the culture to do so.

Months passed and she was still assuring me that she would talk to her dad to change his mind only for her to send me a text message one Saturday morning where she wrote: ‘Baby, I regret to say this but I have moved on without you as I cannot disobey my dad since I need his marital blessings. I pray you find your missing rib.’

This stung me like a bee’s sting; I tried her number but I had been blocked. She had also been transferred to a branch of the bank in Lagos. I wept like a baby but such is life as I couldn’t compel her to marry me.

I am currently in a long-distance relationship with a Jamaican lady I met online and I was open about my family history from the onset and she said it was no big deal. I feared a second heartbreak which was why I immediately opened up to her. I can’t really say I have found love again as we just started.

The reason I shared my story is to lend my voice to the campaign against the stigmatization of the mentally challenged as in most cases it is not even their fault. Life is too short to be engaged in a daily jaw jaw of hate and discrimination.

Let’s show more love to them as the ailment can afflict anybody since it is no respecter of age, status, creed or even past discriminatory stands.

https://africavoiceshq.com/2022/03/20/how-culture-denied-me-of-my-wife/

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Politics / Re: Osasu Igbinedion Gets Engaged (Video) by tonyluyi1985: 10:03am On Jan 08
This is not Osasu; Osasu is very chubby and well endowed. The mods shouldn't bring incorrect news here.

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Business / Donald Trump Raises Billions For Planned Twitter Rival by tonyluyi1985: 12:40pm On Dec 06, 2021
Donald Trump has announced that his new anti-censorship social-media site has attracted a further $1 billion in investments.

Making the announcement of the cash injected into his upcoming site TRUTH Social, Trump said: '$1bn sends an important message to Big Tech that censorship and political discrimination must end.

'As our balance sheet expands, Trump Media & Technology Group will be in a stronger position to fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech.'

The 45th President of the United States and first billionaire to sit in the White House previously explained that his plan for TRUTH was to allow users to post 'without discrimination on the basis of political ideology'.

The capital raise highlighted the former US president's ability to attract strong financial backing seizing on his personal and political brand.

Trump is working to launch TRUTH Social during the first quarter of 2022.

The former President, who has hinted he might seek reelection in 2024, said TRUTH Social will be an alternative to Silicon Valley internet companies that 'are biased against him and other conservative voices.'

The 75-year-old Real Estate Developer who filed for bankruptcy a record four times was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube after the January 6 insurrection in which a mob of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol over his repeated false claims that the November 2020 election was stolen from him.

TRUTH Social is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news, and podcasts, according to the news release.

The $1 billion sum would be in addition to $293 million that Digital World Acquisition Corp raised in an initial public offering in September, taking the total proceeds for TRUTH to about $1.25 billion.
SOURCE: https://theventrepublic.com/donald-trump-raises-billions-for-planned-twitter-rival/

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