In this interview with THE WHISTLER, a Mental Health Therapist and Founder of Purple Lifeline Connection, Mima Odiegwu spoke on mental health issues in Nigeria and why the government should implement the recommendation of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission that those seeking political offices should undergo psychiatrist test. EXCERPTS…
From statistics, what is the percentage of people with mental health issues in Nigeria?
The only one I have is not recent and we are still waiting for World Health Organisation and United Nations statistics, the current one for 2021 that is going to be done this year. But from the little that I have, states that 50 per cent of women are said to have been battered by their husbands at one point or the other in their lives while there’s also a 60 per cent ratio of children that have been battered and abused and for the men, we have 25 per cent.
What do you think is responsible for this and what do you think should be the way out, and where do you think the Government can come in to reduce this challenge in the country?
The first thing is lack of knowledge; we are illiterate in a lot of ways. If you raise a child to believe that aggression and violence are the way to sorting problems, that’s what he’s going to take into the world. He batters his wife and by extension, he batters his children and raises further monsters that will grow into bigger problems. so first of all, our upbringing and the way we think, and our mindset have to change.
The second thing is literacy; being uneducated just puts you at a disadvantage because you don’t even know what is bad and what is good and whether you can get held for it. For the area of the government, there’s a lot the government is ready to do. Advocacy is very critical.
Government should support NGOs and people like us that are trying to do something about it. The police and the justice system should also count down seriously on people that are domestically violent or abusive in any way.
Finally, I think that you and I, everyday people, if you see your neighbor being abusive don’t keep quiet about it. if you see your friend going through it, don’t keep quiet. the issues of financial abuse, people staying in bad marriages and bad relationships because they are financially handicapped, they don’t have money to survive and this their abuser is the person they are solely dependant on, that is also a factor. So the government can come in from the area on making it economical for all of us. Especially for women who are always at a disadvantage position.
You spoke about illiteracy as one of the major reasons why people are abusive. But we also get graduates who batter their wives, what do you say to this?
I said that as one of the reasons. When you are illiterate, you can’t even have access to the internet. For example, if your husband is beating you and you are looking for an NGO or a place to run to when you are illiterate,…
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