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JUTH celebrates World Mental Health Day with fanfare

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Dr. Makput Duwam (standing) and other members during the Mental Health Day.

JOS – The Consultant of Psychiatry Department with the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Dr. Maigari Yusuf Taru, has asserted that, “The celebration of World Mental Health Day started in 1992, about 30 years ago.

“Looking at the global burden for mental illness generally, World Organizations, in collaboration with the body of people in the field of mental health, came up together and set aside 10th of October, each year, to commemorate as Mental Health World Day celebration.”

He said they came out together to create that awareness for people to know what mental health is all about and what is its abnormality – that mental disorder.

Dr Taru was speaking in an interview with journalists to mark this year’s World Mental Health Day at the new Psychiatric Complex of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), in Lamingo, Plateau State, where they organized a workshop on Monday.

The consultant explained that, “The causes of mental health are actually vast, which can actually come from the individual himself, the kind of person that person is. There is what we call, ‘personality,’ that is, if somebody is prompt to worry about over-triggered issues, a restless kind of person, a moody kind of person; then that person is at risks of developing mental issues or mental disorder.”

He also observed that, “Sometimes this goes with childhood experience, starting from the kind of parenting that he received and how environment welcomes him; and it breaks that individual and begins to lay that foundation of development of mental illness, even as a child and as an adult throughout life.”

“The factors that now wake these vulnerabilities like, rightly from the lecture we had, poverty is one cause of the causes we are living with today, even at an increasing rate than relationship problem, whether with the family, marital or place of work.

“All these put an individual at risks of developing psychological illness. Work-related stresses are also other factors, like trauma, which is quite common with the environment now,” Dr Taru noted.

He retorted that, “We are going through kidnapping, terrorism, bombing and other vices in the country. All these make an individual to develop mental illness.

“While some are physical illness itself and there is that mental assessment of the kind of illness that can make the individual break down with psychological illness. When somebody has so many responsibilities with little resources, the person would have the risks factor and can break down with mental illness.

“Stress can also make an individual break down. Everybody is at higher risk of developing mental illness, because itss an illness that has to do with the brain; and we do have brain,” adding that, “Everybody with brain is at the risk of developing mental illness,” he said.

Dr Taru explained further that, “The knowledge of mental illness in our environment is quite scanty; people know nothing about it, most especially in the developing world like ours, which we tend to attribute the causes’ cohesion to what we call ‘supernatural’ causes.”

He noted that, “People view it as a ‘punishment from God,’ or a curse on someone; but in other people the reverse is the case, because some actually have biological bases.

“With making enough awareness, we can now arm at promoting the health; there are certain practices, if one should embed, which turn to promote one’s health, including mental health,” he stated.

The Consultant disclosed that, “There are certain things that can be done to prevent mental illness; we have to get treatment access at an early stage. An individual can be talked to manage that which can prevent a serious issue.

“One thing that is important for a legislator, mental health can be given priority just like we realized that priority in Western Culture is being given low priority and the finance set is called out-of-pocket management, which actually will not go anywhere,” he stressed. 

“Somebody that has an illness, this illness’s ability to inspire the person’s functioning capacity saves his occupation, relationship and, of course, they face a lot of discrimination and yet, the treatment are limited,” he noted.

According to him, “In the developing countries, this has shown that only one or two out of 10 people really get test to quality mental treatment. So, legislation is important to create awareness; it’s important to change the believes about mental illness. If that is done, we can at least reduce the incidences,” he said.

Speaking also, the CMD of JUTH, Dr. Chris Piwuna, who was represented, said, “There is the need to mobilize ourselves so that, this pandemic will not catch up with us. I know in the 3rd world we look up to Europe and US.

“We need to also look at our own system. Mental health is a big challenge; we see it with us, we see it among our staffs, we see it in families, we see it on the streets. So, we must all rise and join hands together to ensure that we prevent this pandemic from happing,” he urged.

While assuring the management support to the Psychiatry Department like any other department that, they will stand by them against this pandemic to ensure success in the battle, and urged them to consider themselves as “someone who has been commissioned.”

He said, “As we have attended this programme, we are not expected to go home and end it there,” and charged them to create that awareness on continues bases, so that people should know that it’s a very serious problem that is daring us. Dr Piwuna observed that,

“Most especially in this country and globally, there are lots of challenges, but for here in this country, there are bigger challenges, and unless we do something about it, we may not be able to contain it.”

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