Bottom line: Africa’s mental health education needs a lot of work. It is up to this generation to #BreakTheStigma by replacing the assumptions of mental illness with facts and identifying its signs. We can sit back and blame the government for our lack of infrastructure to support psychological issues or spread the awareness and educate ourselves with the resources we have.
Several weeks ago, Ivery Arie put together a small campaign that encouraged everyone to educate each other with any information they knew about mental health with #BreakTheStigma. We had quite a few responses.
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People with physical ailments or illnesses are not told to “just pray about it”, so why is that the standard response to people struggling with mental health issues? #BreakTheStigma
Bipolar does not mean split personalities or mood swings. #breakthestigma
True mental health diagnoses (e.g. clinical depression, anxiety, personality disorders) are not ‘cured’ by prayer. Tell your aunties. #breakthestigma
Be the one someone can confide in #BreakTheStigma
It’s better for you to seek out help and understand your challenges, than to be inaccurately pegged as inherently stupid and problematic as a result of undiagnosed mental health issues. #breakthestigma
Seeking out mental health help can actually strengthen your ability to engage others and the world around you. #breakthestigma
Stats: 1 in 4 Americans suffer from some type of mental illness #breakthestigma
Religious people also suffer from mental health issues #breakthestigma
Mental health issues doesn’t mean a person is weak #breakthestigma
Depression is not sadness, learn to read the signs #breakthestigma
Before you are 25, you will be connected directly to at least one person who has committed suicide #breakthestigma
Mental illness is disorder that can only be treated through medication and psychotherapy. Going to a dibia would not get rid of it. Taking he or she to your pastor to pray away the “demons” would not get rid of it. Only treatment can control it. Mental illness such schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar, PTSD, etc is not curable but manageable. It does not mean the person is a danger to society. Infact with their meds and therapy, it’s almost undetectable for some. Pushing them away, belittling them, making those with mental illness feel inferior does nothing but increases chances of them having depression. If you don’t have sitgma of physical illness, why do so for mental illness. #breakthestigma
Your penchant for organizations doesn’t mean you are suffering from Over Compulsive Disorder #breakthestigma
Those surviving mental health issues may not be immediately obvious. #breakthestigma
#BreakTheStigma They do not belong in the marketplace.
We/You/They/Me/Us are NOT dangerous #BreakTheStigma
#BreakTheStigma Those suffering from mental illness are not mad men/women.
Schizophrenia is a psychiatric illness that can be managed and not a punishment for the sins of the forefathers or fetish witchcraft from the village.
Those suffering from mental illness are not destined to be in the market #breakthestigma
#BreakTheStigma and humanize mental health.
It is alright if your mental Illness is treated with medication. #breakthestigma
Be the one someone can talk to and confide in#BreakTheStigma
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you also can’t have a mental illness. Many Christians have diabetes mellitus but that doesn’t stop them from being a Christian. Mental illness should be treated like other diseases, just think of it as a disease of the mind. #breakthestigma
You’re not a crutch or a burden to those you love.
On a more positive note, I would like to thank all my Igbo peers for creating spaces and discussions about Mental Health in the Nigerian community.
Just because you are high-functioning with a mental illness/disorder doesn’t stop you from stigmatizing someone whose diagnosis is severe. Constantly put yourself in check if you find yourself making comments that are insensitive. Build insight. And stay the fuck away from Webmd and google when you are sick #breakthestigma
There is nothing wrong with going to see a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a real doctor. Talking about your feelings and mental health is healthy! #breakthestigma
#BreakTheStigma People suffering from mental health are PEOPLE.
#breakthestigma seek for help for anyone you know with mental illness. Just like other diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc, if not handled in time mental illness might get worse. Be strong and keep healing.
By Ijeoma Ejimadu