More than 2.5 million people of all ages suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental health has become such a huge topic in today’s world. Every day we find various reasons to talk about this topic.
According to Aljazeera, one in four Nigerians is battling a mental illness. This is roughly 25% of the population in Nigeria. This is also in the region of 50 million people.
A report by PineRest also claims that mental illness affects 19% of adults, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children each year. In Nigeria, not so many get treated for these illnesses related to mental health because there is not much education around the topic. Not up to half the people battling one mental health challenge or the other get the help that they need.
While mental health awareness is growing, many signs of decline are easy to overlook. Experts say we should be checking up on our minds the same way we do our bodies, even if we feel okay.
So, how are you?
It’s something we ask each other every day. But, after a long year of stress and tension, you may be asking yourself “Am I okay?”
“We have to look deep inside, I think, and ask ourselves ‘honestly what am I struggling with’ and it’s not often the obvious thing,” David Baker, PhD, LLC, a psychotherapist and performance management consultant, told Ivanhoe.
Start by asking yourself big picture questions.
“Why am I having anxiety?” Baker said. “Why am I having depression?”
Experts suggest taking a moment alone to reflect. Am I still enjoying my hobbies and interests? Am I avoiding the people I love? Am I getting annoyed very easily? How have I been adapting?
Mental health experts advise paying attention to ways your body may be telling you something is wrong. Signs like trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, grinding or clenching teeth, holding tension in your shoulders, or becoming less active.
“If you had just a year to live, what would you do differently?” Baker said.
Don’t wait until things get bad. Protect yourself now to avoid burn out or crisis later. You can even take your own mental health screening test right now on the Mental Health America website.
Experts also say to consider the length and duration of your symptoms. Everyone has bad days, but if you’re feeling down for more than two weeks at a time, it may be time to seek professional help.