Today is World Mental Health Day.
This is a date set to raise awareness about mental health. More often than not we neglect mental health needs. In recent times there has been an increase in anxiety and depression, due to the undue stress created by the COVID19 pandemic. People have faced economic hardships and social isolation as a consequence of the required lockdown.
Mental health is just as important as medical health. Mental health can impact the way people access medical health, and medical illnesses can cause mental hardships, so both areas are intertwined.
No one is immune from mental health disorders. In some people, predisposition to mental disorders is a genetic factor inherited from parents, in others mental disorders arise from environmental factors.
Creating pleasant childhood memories in the formative years will create resilience to sadness.
Prevention of mental illness can take the form of self care. People are advised to build resilience and coping skills and avoid rumination (thinking too much). Here we have a video that provides some pointers for how to prevent or reduce anxiety or depression.
Prolonged untreated anxiety can lead to depression and vice versa.
Early identification using validated depression screening questionnaires like PHQ-2 which asks 2 questions; if PHQ-2 screening is positive, then a PHQ-9 screen should be performed and will identify various stages of depression.
Other resources for screening for mental disorders include online assessment tools https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools
Seeking professional support by talking to a therapist, psychiatrist and or taking prescribed medications and appropriate follow up.
Removing the stigma from mental health disorders is by finding your support team, and resources. Understanding, that there are good days and bad days; and managing each day wisely as it comes.
Organizations should engage health champions to increase dialogue and engagement. Employers in high-stress fields, should be aware of the impact of work-related burnout on workers as a reversible cause of anxiety and depression and ensure employee wellness programs are implemented.
Resources for mental health in Nigeria
Written by Dr. Onuoha MD, MBA-HCM
Photo: Godaddy stock images
Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. This is for general knowledge only. See your health provider or Doctor for any medical or mental concerns.