By Oyinlola Pelumi Adewale
The just expired year, 2021, was particularly not the best year for many people. One of them was Queen Ogunjobi, a student and an online vendor. One of her major aims for the year was to end her life. She planned to commit suicide because, according to her, she had a lot going on.
The young lady who lost her mum early in January, 2021 was forced to live with her uncle, whom according to her, she struggled to cope with. As if that was not enough, she was also a victim of a very toxic relationship.
Having to deal with her mum’s painful death, her boyfriend’s cheating habit and rage as well as maltreatments from her uncle, she said: “It has not been easy coping without my mum because this my uncle sends me on unnecessary errands, he tries to control my every move, I can’t even go out with friends and exceed the curfew a little bit, I would get beaten to stupor. I cannot run away because I have nowhere to run to and I don’t want to suffer, so, the only time I get to breathe well is when I am in school. I am really tired; I am seriously depressed and I’m thinking of committing suicide. My boyfriend gives me another headache, he is a big cheat, he insults me, he doesn’t respect me at all, he beats me up in presence of his friends, sometimes strip me naked in public just to embarrass me. I hate my life and I feel really used and stupid.”
The above lady was able to scale through the year in pain and severe emotional torture which eventually affected her health, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Olowolaju Boluwatife, an industrial psychologist and Creative Director of The Jporshe Designs and Prints, explained how mental health plays a major role in our lives daily. He said: “The concept of mental health cannot be overemphasized because it plays a major role in our everyday activity. If I’m not psychologically healthy, I can’t be talking to you or giving you my thoughts on this topic. So, I’d like to say that our mental health is what makes us acceptable in the society where we find ourselves initially.
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
“In other words, mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
“Mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities. Peak mental health is about not only avoiding active conditions but also looking after ongoing wellness and happiness. They also emphasize that preserving and restoring mental health is crucial on an individual basis, as well as throughout different communities and societies the world over.
Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry; life experiences, such as trauma or abuse and family history of mental health problems.”
It’s important to protect your mental health and well-being every day so that you can handle daily stress and be effective helping others when they need you. Protecting your mental health will also help you take care of your physical health, recognize emotional and spiritual needs, foster and sustain strong relationships, and achieve balance in different areas of your life.”
In his words, there are several ways by which your mental health can be protected. He listed a few of such ways.
ONE: Express your feelings
Tell someone how you’re feeling and keep them updated on any problems you are having. Keeping your emotions bottled up can only make you feel worse.
TWO: Set boundaries
It’s fine to say “no” to activities you don’t enjoy or want to do anymore. This could include not checking emails late at night, skipping social events, or not answering the phone at certain times of the day.
THREE: Take care of your physical health
Managing mental illness symptoms requires physical self-care. Eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and exercising on a regular basis can all help to keep your physical health in check.
FOUR: Find a coping mechanism for you
Everyone is pressed for time. Look for a healthy hobby that you enjoy. Performing art or music, journaling, or connecting with loved ones can all help you cope with daily stress.
FIVE: Ask for help if you need it
It is appropriate to seek assistance. Professionals and services in mental health are available to help you cope with your problems.
SIX: Talk about your worries
It may be good to talk about how you’re feeling and what you’re doing to cope.
SEVEN: Think about your new daily routine
Think about how you can change and build positive new habits – attempt to do things that are helpful or important (like cleaning, cooking, or exercising, reading or calling a friend). Making a daily or weekly schedule may be beneficial to you.
EIGHT: Set goals
Setting and attaining goals gives you a sense of control and purpose. Consider what you want or need to do but can still do from home.
NINE: Keep your mind active
Keep your mind active by reading, writing, playing games, doing crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, or drawing and painting. Make a strategy that suits you.
TEN Do things you enjoy
If your stay at home prevents you from doing the things you normally enjoy, think about how you may adapt or try something new.
Also, in an interview, Mrs Ibironke Ojo-Omotoso, a registered mental health nurse, described mental health as the overall way people get along harmoniously with their families, at school, work, at play and their communities. “This does not mean the presence of mental illness but rather the presence of something positive – happiness, peace of mind, the enjoyment and satisfaction that we derive from living.
“Mental hygiene is the way by which an individual prepares his mind for the achievement of a good mental health. For example, not living above one’s limit, i.e. spending what you have and not above your income, creating good environment for oneself to prevent insecurity, Avoiding what will alter the personality of an individual e.g. smoking cannabis, taking of drugs like cocaine, heroin etc.”
She also spoke about what one should look out for in a mentally-healthy individual. According to het, those things include but are not limited to the following:
•Can face disappointments and setbacks in life.
•Tolerant, easy-going attitude toward himself as well as others.
• Never underestimates or overestimate abilities of himself and others.
•Accepts his own shortcomings.
•Gets satisfaction from anything he has.
•Gives love and considers the interest of others.
•Loves and trust others and takes it for granted that others will love and trust him.
•Does not push people around or allow himself to be pushed
•Does something about his problem as it arises.
•Plans ahead and does not fear the future.
•Welcomes new experience and ideas.
•Adjust to his environment whenever necessary.
•Puts his best effort into what he does and gets satisfactions out of doing it.
“The above listed may seem hard to fulfil in our present society, but they are the basics to having a sound mind mentally, especially in this new year,” she stated.