An Ondo State based Neuro-psych Consultant, Dr. Sajo Sunday has declared that 20 percent of adolescent across the country are experiencing a mental health while 10 percent are experiencing severe mental health.
Dr. Sajo Sunday gave the explanation while delivering a lecture on adolescent mental health with the theme: “Adolescent Mental Health: Managing Depression and Failed Expectations”, in Akure, the state capital.
He noted that the stage is often characterized by several principle and psychological changes, stating that adolescents were very curious as “the changes experienced in this stage expose them to unhealthy behavior”.
While describing mental health as the maintenance of successful mental activity, added that a child that must be responsible must have a sound mental health.
“In Nigeria, they constitute 22.3 percent of total population. 20 percent of adolescent are experiencing a mental health while 10 percent are experiencing severe mental health. 50 percent of adult psychiatric illness begin before the age of 14 year of age”.
Describing suicide as one of the complications of depression which according to him was the third common leading causes of death among adolescent, he listed sad appearance, changes in appetite, emotional instability, major changes in sleeping order, substance abuse and worsening school performance as some symptoms of adolescent depression.
However, he stressed the need for teachers and parents to be able to detect depression in adolescent, rule out causes and change their attitude towards adolescents in order to reduce the prevalence depression among them.
The need for stakeholders to assist adolescents in making good choices that will improve their mental health which will enable them make meaningful contribution to the development of the state and country at large have been stressed.
While declaring the event open, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Banji Ajaka described adolescent as the transition period from childhood to adulthood, saying, it is the stage where choice of character and building were made noting that it was the stage where psychological conflicts of expectations must be resolved to achieve a balanced adulthood.
Ajaka who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Pharm. Folukemi Aladenola stated that failure of stakeholders to provide succour and support at this stage may prompt one to have an alternative means of solution.
While commending Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s passion in empowering the youths and stimulating them in playing their roles in the development of the nation, he called on stakeholders to assist them scale through this stage in order to attain their dreams.
In her goodwill message, representative of a non-governmental organisations, Folashade Bamgboye commended the ministry for putting in place such programme, noting that it will help in bringing mental health out of the shadows.
She urged teachers and students to spread the message, adding that teachers should always have an open environment so as to enable students share their challenges with them.
In another lecture, “managing failed expectations in adolescent”, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi explained that adolescents failed due to their exaggerated opinion of themselves and their capacity, adding that academics and social relationship were the core areas of failure which confront them.
He noted that all aspects of adolescents’ life were affected through failed relationship, adding that many will recover if the failure was not a major one while some will slow down for a while.