Nigeria has a mental health bomb ticking and waiting to explode. Yet, whether by design or wilful act of delusion, Nigeria has chosen to completely ignore this epidemic and create instead an unstainable approach rooted in shame, religion, and stigma.
As we celebrate World Mental Health Awareness Week, I am taking a pause as someone who has and is struggling from mental health issues, to examine the mirage of challenges facing the most populous Black nation in the world and how Africa’s once powerful giant is now slipping into the darkness of a mental health crisis.
A few weeks back, I opened my inbox on Instagram and came across a message from a young man who wrote me, “I have thought about suicide many times and every time, everyone says I am just overacting that everyone has a problem in Nigeria.”
This message is not a one off, it is actually one of the many messages I received from Nigerians, both young and old; Nigerians that needed someone to listen to them or an institution that will provide support. While I am glad that they feel safe messaging me, they deserve to have the option of support from trained professionals .
My own personal journey to accepting my mental health has not been an easy ride. In 2019, in a post I made on my social media platform, I talked about how depression has affected me and most times, even when I am online, making flashy videos and having great times, deep inside me I was falling deep into a dark hole that I can’t example.
The support was huge from many Nigerians and many also shared their stories. However, there was also an emerging theme in the messages I was sent with people telling me “I need prayers”, “god can heal me”, “it is the…