A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves a thousand moments of regret; Anger begins with madness and ends in regret.


Anger is an intense emotional response that involves a strong uncomfortable and hostile response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. Anger can occur when a person feels their personal boundaries are being or are going to be violated.

There is a sharp distinction between anger and aggression (verbal or physical, direct or indirect) even though they mutually influence each other. While anger can activate aggression or increase its probability or intensity, it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for aggression.

There is a part of the brain responsible for identifying threats to our well-being. Part of this responsibility is sending out alarms when a threat is identified and the body responds in many ways depending on how we have wired ourselves.

For those who are impulsive, in an effort to protect themselves, their reactions override the part of the brain responsible for thought and judgment. In other words, although the brain is wired in such a way as to influence us to act before we can properly consider the consequences of our actions, we also have the option and control of processing our reactions.

Anger instigates physiological responses such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline which are stress hormones that our body secrete as a fight or flight response. Also, expression of anger can be found in facial expressions eg clenching of the jaw, body language like clenching of the fist,  and at times subtle acts like the eyes becoming red or even a wry sardonic laugh.

Modern psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. Uncontrolled anger can, however, negatively affect personal or social well-being and impact negatively on those around them. It is equally challenging to be around an angry person and the impact can also cause psychological/emotional trauma if not dealt with.

Characteristics of Anger

Passive anger

  • Dispassion, such as giving someone the cold shoulder; Evasiveness, such as turning one’s back in a crisis, avoiding conflict; Defeatism, such as setting yourself and others up for failure; Obsessive behavior, such as needing to be inordinately clean and tidy, making a habit of constantly checking things; Psychological manipulation, such as provoking people to aggression and then patronizing them, provoking aggression but staying on the sidelines, emotional blackmail, false tearfulness, feigning illness; Secretive behavior, such as stockpiling resentments that are expressed behind people’s backs, giving the silent treatment or under the breath mutterings, avoiding eye contact; Self-blame, such as apologizing too often, being overly critical, inviting criticism.

Aggressive anger

  • Bullying, such as threatening people directly; Destructiveness, such as destroying objects as in vandalism, harming animals, child abuse, destroying a relationship, reckless driving, substance abuse; Grandiosity, such as showing off; Hurtfulness, such as violence, including sexual abuse and rape, verbal abuse; Manic behavior, such as speaking too fast, walking too fast, driving too fast, reckless spending; Selfishness, such as ignoring others’ needs, not responding to requests for help, queue jumping; Threats, such as frightening people by saying how one could harm them; Unjust blaming, such as accusing other people for one’s own mistakes; Unpredictability, such as explosive rages over minor frustrations, attacking indiscriminately; Vengeance, such as being over-punitive. This differs from retributive justice.

Assertive anger

  • Blame, Punishment, and Sternness, such as making them feel bad repeatedly and depriving them of some things you see as comforts and calling out a person on their behavior, with voice raised with utter disapproval/disappointment.


  1.  Identify what initially triggered the anger
  2. Reflect on how you related to the triggering situation e.g., what did you say to yourself about it.
  3. Identify all of the specific emotional and behavioral responses that followed.

Enhanced Personal Awareness

In order to stay less angry, you must have a clear sense of your anger and other people’s anger

Where and when does the anger occur? Why does anger occur (what events or situations lead to the anger)? What kinds of memories or images trigger the anger? How do you feel when you become angry (emotionally and physically)? What are you thinking when you are angry? How do you handle the situation that made you angry? Do you always behave the same way? If not, why not? What do others do when you become angry?

Anger Disruption by Avoidance and Removal

These techniques lead to interruption of anger by removing you, mentally or physically, from the situation.

Create simple strategies that can disrupt anger and give yourself time and distance to calm down, then approach the situation differently, at a later time. This enhances your self-awareness. Drinking water has a good therapeutic effect and in the Islamic religion, performing ablution is recommended as a remedy.

Relaxation Coping Skills

Anger is often marked by increased emotional and physical excitement. Relaxation coping skills target this excitement and can help you calm down when angered.

Relaxation skills include slow deep breathing, slowly repeating a calming word or phrase, picturing a personal relaxation image, or focusing on muscle tension and consciously letting it go.

Attitude and Cognitive Change

When angry, people often make bad situations worse by the way they think about them. For example, angry individuals tend to demand that things should be, ought to be, or have to be, their way—rather than just wanting or preferring them to be a certain way. Often, they call other people insulting, sometimes obscene, names. The problem situation is often seen as awful or catastrophic, rather than simply difficult, frustrating, or truly disappointing. By thinking about bad situations in this way, natural

Things should not, ought not, or have to be your way. You shouldn’t call other people insulting, sometimes obscene, names. Don’t see a problematic situation as awful or catastrophic, rather, see it as a salvageable task. By thinking about bad situations in this way, natural frustrations, hurts, and disappointments that seem much larger and lead to increased in anger can be dealth with objectively.

Acceptance and Forgiveness

Many things that others do simply can not be helped. For example, children spill drinks;  Spouses sometimes forget about issues that are important to their partners.

Thinking that others have intentionally set out to cause problems is almost always wrong. Thinking that they could have acted differently, if they really wanted to, ignores other causes of behavior. Thinking that the bad behavior of others is always intentional just increases anger and does little to solve problems. Understanding that some behaviors are caused by biology or genetics, or normal development, or economic stressors, is more realistic.

Communication Skill 

Some people experience anger because they do not have the necessary skills to negotiate common interpersonal hassles and conflicts.

Fighting with a spouse, for example, may occur when one partner has a poor negotiating skill and because such persons may also not know how to communicate well about family budgets and many other things, they resort to unconventional methods that may be provocative or aggressive over time. The Anger here has escalated because of insufficient skill at resolving the situation.


You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself and you are selfish if you love yourself too much because few would embrace you. If you don’t love yourself at all, you need help, not death.

“Since the robbery, I have cried all day and night, I can’t believe I have lost it all, ahh! I am so sad, in fact, I am depressed, she said”


Sadness, like excitement, is a normal reaction to an unpleasant situation or life difficulties. Often times, however, ‘I am depressed as used in the story above is used synonymously with I am sad. By extension reducing the reality of the illness to just a mood- sadness. This misconception is what birth statements like “snap out of it”, “man up”, “you are just making a big deal out of it”.

Depression is a mental illness, associated with low mood, decreased energy, low self-esteem, loss of interest in previously exciting activities, appetite disorder (loss or excessive), a feeling of guilt, thoughts of death and disturbed sleep. Depression is way beyond sadness.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

“It started with my being unable to sleep, but it soon got worse. I lost weight drastically and started experiencing somatization- chronic physical pains in various parts of my body, making me very weak and low-spirited, but no one at the time understood what I was talking about”.  

Again, sadness is not depression, sadness could for some is only a small part of depression and some others may not feel sadness at all. Depression has many other symptoms, including physical ones. If you have been experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms for at least 2 weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms, e.g. diarrhea


There are different types of depressive disorders and based on symptom severity, depression can range from mild to severe to very severe condition

Major depression

Major depression is sometimes referred to as clinical depression, unipolar depression or major depressive disorder. It involves low mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities, as well as other symptoms for at least two weeks. Symptoms of depression interfere with individual’s daily life and normal functioning. Depression can be described as mild, moderate or severe; melancholic or psychotic (see below).


This is the term used to describe a severe form of depression where many of the physical symptoms of depression are present particularly slow movement. It is also characterized by complete loss of pleasure in everything or almost everything.

Psychotic depression

Sometimes a depressive disorder can be accompanied by loss \of touch with reality and experience psychosis. This can involve hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there) or delusions (false beliefs that aren’t shared by others), such as believing they are divinities, prophets or evil, or that they’re being watched or followed. They can also be paranoid, feeling as though everyone is against them or that they are bad omens.

Antenatal and postnatal depression

In the days or weeks following birth, many women experience ‘baby blues’ which is a common condition related to hormonal changes and affects up to 80 percent of women. The ‘baby blues’, are common experiences, but are different from depression and tend to decrease within a week or two. Depression is longer lasting and can affect not only the mother but her relationship with her child, the child’s care and development, the mother’s relationship with her partner and other members of the family. Almost 10 percent of women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 percent in the first three months after having a baby.

Bipolar disorder

In bipolar disorder, the person experiences periods of depression and periods of mania, with periods of normal mood in between. Mania is the opposite of depression, characterized by extremely “high” moods, energized behavior, having racing thoughts, little need for sleep, difficulty concentrating and feeling frustrated and irritable. It may sometimes affect the person’s touch with reality and has episodes hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that is not there) or having delusions (e.g. the person believing he or she has divine powers).

Bipolar disorder tends to run in families. Stress and conflict can trigger episodes for people with this condition and it is common for bipolar disorder to be misdiagnosed as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or schizophrenia. A mild form of bipolar disorder is cyclothymic disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

SAD is a mood disorder that has a seasonal pattern. The cause of the disorder is unclear, but it’s thought to be related to the variation in light exposure (Sunlight) in different seasons. Depression which starts in winter and subsides when the season ends is the most common.


“Mopelola was noticed in September in the year 2014 to be unduly withdrawn from people including keeping away from her friends on the ground that nobody loves her; almost at the same time, she has also been seen not to be participating in some of the church activities that were known to be pleasurable to her. Within a month of the onset of the condition, she has been observed to have reduced appetite for food as she claims that she has a need to engage in fasting and prayers to combat some negative thoughts that were running through her mind, such thoughts according to her include but not limited to thoughts of not “good enough, being worthless and useless and that there was nothing good about her future”. Consequently, she felt unhappy all the times and sometimes got angry at others around him. This condition has affected her ability to concentrate on her JAMB coaching class and her level of concentration has dropped significantly. Her parents in their state of being bewildered to have made many spiritual attempts to ameliorate the problem, only minimal improvement was noticed”

The thought that depression is mood-sadness, and sufferers being individuals “who can’t just get over it” consequently make the misconstrued cause of depression to be Weakness. Religious affirmations that link spiritual weakness to depression further make appropriate treatment less sought.

Depression like all illness have factors that play a role or make an individual vulnerable. They include;

  • Traumatic events
  • Other mental health problems
  • Physical health problems e.g. chronic or life-threatening health problems
  • Genetic inheritance
  • Childhood experiences such as neglect, loss of parent(s)
  • Medication, substance and alcohol abuse.
  • Sleep, poor nutrition, and exercise


Depression – even the supposed worse cases – can be treated and individuals can recover and live a productive life. Like all illness, early detection and treatment greatly affect treatment outcome. The earlier the better.

While many may still argue that depression is caused by spiritual weakness or attack, I advise that while deliverance and other spiritual approach are being sorted, kindly visit a doctor. The goal is to be better, isn’t it? The first step to recovery is seeking help, speak to a doctor, your doctor may then refer you to a specialist after physical problems have been ruled out.

Depression depending on the diagnosis made can be treated with medications or psychotherapy or both. Treatment is often times individualized.

Depression can occur to anyone and at ages

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and at least 350 million people are affected worldwide, this could be higher considering denial and treatment abstinence based on misconceptions or ignorance could hinder diagnosis in some sufferers. Although a common illness, it affects individuals differently

Depression in Women.

Women with depression do not all experience same symptoms, however, symptoms of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt are typical symptoms women have.

Depression is twice as common among women as among men. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are probable causes amongst other factors such as genetics and abuse.

Depression in Men

Men although less likely than women also suffer depression and manifestations in men differ from those in women. Men are more likely to react to life difficulties with denial, anger, violence or substance and alcohol abuse. Some men may throw themselves into their work to avoid talking about their feelings or behave recklessly. Although more women attempt suicide, many more men die by suicide.

Depression in Children

Children are particularly thought to be free-spirited and do not “think”, hence can’t suffer depression.

“Most studies concur that about 1% to 2% of pre-pubertal children and about 5% of adolescents suffer from clinically significant depression at any one time and by the age of 16 years 12% of girls and 7% of boys would have had a depressive disorder at some time in their lives”.

The implication of the above is that in a primary school of about 300 children at least 3-6 of them will be depressed at any one time. Children with depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent or become excessively anxious. The normalcy of children makes recognition a bit difficult, however, a change in the initial behavioral or academic pattern are major red flags to watch out for.

Depression in Teens

As children grow into teenagers and adolescent, parental acceptance is second to peer acceptance, coupled with hormonal changes, teenage years can be tough and irritable moods are expected.

However, depression in teenagers often presents with persistence in irritability (hostile, easily frustrated, angry outbursts), hypersomnia, increased appetite or loss of it, extreme sensitivity to rejection (criticism). Depression if left untreated may manifest fully in reckless behavior, substance abuse or school desertion.

Unlike in adults, children and teenagers rely on adults (parents, teachers, and caregivers) in recognizing and helping them get help as ignorance of their feelings or their natural dependence may prevent them from getting help.


Prevention is better than cure, early detection and treatment will prevent disease progression

Self-care tips and general lifestyle modifications can help manage the symptoms of many mental health problems, and may also help to prevent some problems from developing or getting worse.


Depression in children and adolescents, 2015 edition by; Joseph M Rey, Tolulope T Bella-Awusah & Jing Liu pg. 2

Shadows in the Mirror by; Dr. Vivian Ikem




Rukayat Ogunbiyi is a Pharmacist and Public mental health advocate, inclined towards child and adolescent psychiatry. She was trained as an intern at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba. She is currently set to resume post graduate studies in Child and Adolescent Mental health at the Center for Child and adolescent mental health in University of Ibadan.

Anxiety and co…

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly encountered psychological disorders among adults

If you have never felt anxious, something is wrong with you. It is okay to worry temporarily especially when we have to make important decisions when we are faced with a challenge or a test/exam. However, it is a different case entirely when this is blown out of proportion. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly encountered psychological disorders among adults and they interfere with performance, relationships and other healthy daily activities.  Have you read about Stress?

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly encountered psychological disorders among adults and they interfere with performance, relationships and other healthy daily activities.


Nobody wants to be labeled as crazy, especially in an African society where stigmatization thrives like wild-fire. For this reasons, critical issues pertinent to assessing anxiety disorders are bordered on;

  • Sensitivity to making the diagnosis
  • Anxiety in a mask of productivity
  • Other psychiatric diagnoses associated with it
  • Medical conditions and medications that can cause or exacerbate anxiety disorders.

Risk Factors

  • Shyness, or behavioral inhibition, in childhood
  • Being female
  • Having poor economic resources
  • Being divorced or widowed
  • Exposure to stressful life events in childhood and adulthood
  • Anxiety disorders in close biological relatives
  • Parental history of mental disorders


The anxiety disorders that will be examined in this write-up will include:

  1. Panic disorder
  2. Generalized anxiety disorder
  3. Obsessive compulsive disorder
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder
  5. Social phobia and specific phobia.

As each disorder is explored, emphasis will be placed on assessment of commonly encountered psychiatric and medical conditions that contribute to anxiety symptoms. However, before considering the specific anxiety disorders to be presented in this program, it is useful to highlight the following issues:

Psychiatric Disorders associated with Anxiety Disorders

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Substance abuse disorders – alcohol, marijuana
  • Somatization disorders (fatigue, chest pain, headache, insomnia, non-specific GI complaints)
  • Complex anxiety disorders – ( Post-traumatic stress disorder with Panic disorder)

Medical Conditions associated with Exacerbating Anxiety

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Adrenal Dysfunction
  • Angina
  • Hypoglycemia

Medications and Substances associated with Exacerbating Anxiety

  • Stimulants (Amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, and other over the counter “natural stimulants”)
  • Withdrawal from drugs, including alcohol
  • Heavy metals and toxins
  • Steroids
  • Rapid withdrawal from some antidepressants

General Action plan in dealing with anxiety and associated disorders

  1. Assessment for suicide risk, particularly in patients with depression and panic disorder, substance abuse or high levels of agitation.
  2. Identification of severity of anxiety disorder (chronic or episodic)
  3. Identification of substance abuse
  4. Assessment of key symptoms of panic disorder, fear of dying and/or fear of going crazy
  5. Assessment for depression or other mood disorder
  6. Inquiry as to the presence of anti-social behavior
  7. Exploration of presence of precipitating event or trauma
  8. Being alert to people with anxiety disorders who have insomnia, headache, non-specific GI complaints, cognitive complaints

We will be talking extensively about mental health and major associative conditions in the comings weeks. Stay tuned. Read about Stress here.

Mental illness as a curable disorder: Debunking common myths

Kunle Omo Ijoba sits at a particular spot all day, always, with his dress tattered and hair mashed into an untidy Bob Marley style. Sometimes he would accost strangers claiming they owe him money. The market was his home and he would seldom entertain the traders with his dance moves and sometimes reveal more that they bargain for; with genitals out like a ware in a trade fair.

The picture described above is something most, if not all, Nigerians are familiar with. Mentally disordered people litter the streets and from time to time and we may or may not encounter them. Unfortunately, the description above largely defines our knowledge of mental illness. Our socio-cultural beliefs have entrenched in us several myths and misconceptions that affect our overall reaction to mental illnesses resulting in unfair and unwarranted stigma, discrimination and inappropriate or lack of treatment for sufferers.

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The World health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

In a research done by V. O. Lasebikan et.al in a primary health center in Lagos Island, Nigeria, 400 people that consisted of 88 children and young adults below aged 29 years, 55 aged 30 to 39 years, 72 aged 40 to 49 years, 63 aged 50 to 59 years, and 122 who were above 59 years, (226 (56.5%) were females, and 250 (62.5%) were married) were assessed and;

  • psychiatric morbidity was significantly highest for respondents below 39 years
  • psychiatric morbidity was significantly highest among those who were divorced 72%

The most prevalent clinical syndrome was unexplained somatic complaints (57.5%), followed by depression among half (50.0%) of the respondents, any anxiety disorder (49.3%), primary insomnia (45.3%), and alcohol use disorder (11.3%). Between 2.0 and 7.8% of respondents had disablement in various areas of life, out of which the commonest was in the domain of family relations (7.8%).


To bring about “change”, these misconceptions and myths need to be cleared out and the correct picture painted. The following statements are tailored to iron out negativity and bring to light the facts about the illness before we take a journey on specific mental disorders and how to deal with them.

1. Myth: Mental illness is caused by supernatural forces

Evil spirits, witchcrafts have been for so long been held as the cause mental illness. Due to this perceived causes, religious institutions have been consistently sought for a cure or more appropriately deliverance.

Fact: Like every other illness mental illnesses are medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders, and they can be treated effectively.

2. Myth: Mental illnesses are incurable and lifelong?

Fact: When treated appropriately and early, many people recover fully and have no further episodes of illness. For others, mental illness may recur throughout their lives and require ongoing treatment. This is the same as many physical illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Like these other long-term health conditions, mental illness can be managed so that individuals live life to the fullest. Although some people become disabled as a result of ongoing mental illness, many who experience even very major episodes of illness live full and productive lives.

3. Myth/Misconception: Mental illness is innate?    

It is customary for families to sort through genealogy in search of history of mental illness in the family their child is marrying into.

Fact: Vulnerability to some mental illnesses, such as bipolar mood disorder, can run in families. But other people develop mental illness with no family history. Many factors contribute to the onset of a mental illness these include stress, bereavement, relationship breakdown, amongst other life negativities. But then, it can be managed.

4. Misconception: Mental illness only affects bad persons (karma)

The lady who bewitched her friend’s husband, the wicked stepmother, the rich ritualist; which other one? Nollywood’s favourite karma dish is “madness”.  I suppose, these pictures are what comes to mind first when you see a psychotic person on the streets.

Fact: Everyone and anyone are vulnerable to mental health problems. Many people feel more comfortable with the notion of having ‘a nervous breakdown’ rather than a mental illness. However, it is pertinent to talk openly about mental illness, as this reduces the stigma through reorientation and helps people to seek help early.

5. Misconception: People with mental illness are usually dangerous

Fact: This is about the greatest misconception that results in great stigmatization. People with mental illness are seldom dangerous; in fact people with the most severe mental illness are rarely dangerous especially when receiving appropriate treatment and support. Some mental illnesses are associated with aggresiveness and impasitivity, however, it is extrememly important such persons get help as they are more likely to harm themselves before others.

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities

6. Misconception: People with mental illness should be isolated from the community

Some communities have a myth that if “a mad man bites you, you’d get infected with the madness too”


Fact: Most people with mental illness recover quickly and do not even need hospital care. Others have short admissions to hospital for treatment. Improvements in treatment over recent decades mean that most people live in their communities, and there is no need for the confinement and isolation that was commonly used in the past. Besides, mental illness is not an infectious disease and cannot be passed from one person to another through coughing or touching.

7. Fact: Stigma is one of the biggest problems for people with mental illness.

One of the greatest obstacles to recovery from mental illness is confronting the negative attitudes from the society. These often mean that people with mental illness face isolation and discrimination just for having an illness. Positive attitudes of family, friends, service providers, employers, and other members of the community toward people with mental illness are critical to ensuring quality of life for people with mental illness and supporting recovery.

8. Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems

Once, I saw an undressed child stand in front of a moving car without fear ; no emotions at all. The driver parked and shouted “ogbanje”, a melodramatic episode followed thereafter.

Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosed, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.  Our culture could not describe the emotionless attributes in some children nor is it able to decipher the hyperactivity of some children, they simply label them as “ogbanje” or “hard/stubborn child”. Majority are unaware of developmental mental health disorders  which show first signs before a child turns 5 years old, or even before 14 in adolescent disorders and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.

9. Myth: Postpartum mental illness “abisinwin”only occurs in cases of spiritual attack or genetic in some families.

Still on the Nollywood matter.

Fact: Mental health problems among women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth are observable in all countries and cultures. “Abisinwin” postpartum mental is not as depicted by our southwestern indigenous movies. Maternity, third day or postpartum blues occur in 80% of women who have recently birthed a child, with characteristic emotional swings from euphoria, tears (often without sadness), restlessness, anxiety, to feeling of unreality and detachment from the new born. However, the persistent presence for at least two weeks of cognitive and affective symptoms maybe suggestive of a serious mood disorder. Postpartum psychosis occurs within 48-72 hours after birth.

10. Misconception: Prevention doesn’t work, it is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health problems. Promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to:

  • Higher overall productivity
  • Better educational outcomes
  • Lower crime rates
  • Stronger economies
  • Lower health care costs
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased lifespan
  • Improved family life.

Friends and loved ones can make a huge difference. Communal support can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

  • Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
  • Helping them access mental health services, first aids are possible
  • Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, help correct misconceptions.
  • Treating them with respect, they are not different from other ill persons
  • Labels are for clothes; not human. Do not use labels like “crazy, mad, Kolo”

Overview of Common Mental Disorders


1. Schizophrenia
It is characterized by psychotic episodes with recurring functional periods of disordered thought procecess. Symptoms include; delusions, hallucinations, disturbance of thought, disorganized speech, difficulty in concentration and poor memory.

2. Anxiety Disorders
An anxiety disorder involves an inappropriate response characterized by feelings of apprehension, uncertainty or fear. This disorders can be differentiated into Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD), Panic Disorder (PD) amongst others.

3. Personality Disorders
Personality disorders are a combinations of patterns and behaviors that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it.

Conclusively, Mental illness like every other illness requires specialists to diagnose and provide care. it is treatable, curable, and does not require advance technology; our perception of it will affect how we get approach it positively.

To stay mentally fit, let’s continue the conversation, share some of the myths and misconceptions you know that was not highlighted, together we change the narrative.




Rukayat Ogunbiyi is a Pharmacist and Public mental health advocate, inclined towards child and adolescent psychiatry. She was trained as an intern at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba. She is currently set to resume post graduate studies in Child and Adolescent Mental health at the Center for Child and adolescent mental health in University of Ibadan.