By Iyakale Yakubu
A Nigerian youth undergoing the one year compulsary National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Deinabo Obiechina has organised a sensitisation rally on mental illness in Jos, north-central Nigeria.
The rally conducted in the popular Jos main market (terminus) and Gada-biu market, was part of her community development project required by the programme.
In an address, Obiechina lamented that mental illness has not been recognised as an issue, dispite the fact that it is one of the major causes of death in the society.
Obiechina expressed worry that in Nigeria, “Many people have the wrong impression that mentally ill people are only those on the streets, who are wearing dirty clothes and picking dirt, it is beyond that.
“Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar amongst others are also mental illness causing deaths in our society,’’ she said.
The rally according to her was to create awareness on the signs of mental illness which can aggravate to complicated cases and are life threatening.
“This project is in partnership with quintessential health care centre for expertise and financial support, seeking help from professionals and sharing with someone you can confide in is a step in addressing mental illness,’’ she added.
A passerby, Comfort Karik, commended the corps member for using her time, energy and resources to give back to the society in a positive way, noting that some Corp members may use their resources for nefarious acts which would be detrimental to their health and the society at large.
Salilat Latif, an NYSC inspector in Jos, urged Nigerians to support the efforts of corp members, saying many communities in Plateau have mentally ill people that were uncomfortable to seek for help because of the fear of being stigmatized as mad.