Nigeria must prioritize mental health

In Nigeria, many look well but are not. Beyond the shiny, smiley demeanors that many wear and the cliched expressions of `it is well,’ ‘by the grace of God,’ `Insha Allah,’ that they mouth, something lurks – something dark and disturbing.

It is not just the paralyzing anxiety that grips many like the curls of a boa constrictor, there is the depression that is persistently dark and well versed in the darkest arts of disguise.

Many Nigerians are sick. Of course, many do not know this because they stay home and suffer, kept away from hospitals and the benevolent gaze of doctors by the forbidding costs of accessing healthcare in Nigeria.

When they die, all manner of suspicions are voiced by their survivors: from African science (whatever that means) to juju to ‘village people’. Yet, many die simply because they are careless or not proactive enough about their health. In a country of millions that has enough troubles to sicken billions, many Nigerians do not keep enough tabs on the toll the Nigerian situation is taking on their bodies.

But of all the constituent parts of the human being, the mind is the most delicate even if it is the most adamantine. Because it is the battlefield, it wears many battle scars and it does not take long for the scars to show up in a country of many interminable challenges.

Occasionally, some who can no longer cope leap into the lagoon in Lagos. Others drink sniper, the highly poisonous agricultural chemical, while many yet hang themselves until the noose squeezes the life out of them.

In a country of many challenges of the kind likely to afflict the mind, many have lost their minds but do not exactly know it because they are not out on the streets yet given that madness as it is known in Nigeria is associated with being out on the street.

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