By Stanley Onyekwere
An Abuja based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Teenz Global Foundation has advocated improved education for youth on developing and maintaining sound mental health skills as antidote to rising suicide rate in the society.
To this end, the Foundation staged an event where hundreds of students drawn from seven public schools in Wuse, Apo Resettlement and Gwarinpa were comprehensively enlightened on depression and how to recognise and deal with it to avoid suicides and other negative choices.
Founder and project director of Teens Global Foundation, Mrs Ijeoma Sorochi revealed that already there is a statistics showing that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
Sorochi said the project was conceived to help increase awareness on mental health management among young people, to enable them understand how to utilize their minds and prevent negative thoughts.
“We need to start the conversation on mental health issues, we need to change our mindset and perception about mental health issues.
“ We need to understand that people go through challenges that they may not be able to control circumstances beyond people’s control.
“Having those where people can speak up, where we can educate people, and increase awareness about mental health issues, because they are things that would help reduce the rising suicide in the society,” she reinforced.
Similarly, Pastor Evangeline Michaels of the Christ Embassy, Abuja Ministry Centre, called for more positive mindset re-orientation and character development programmes for young people in Nigeria.
She said the time was apt to expose teenagers on life changing information, because whatever information they receive forms who they become in life.
On his part, a medical expert, Dr. Chigozie Igwe, from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Secretariat, the effects of mental health challenges have contributed immensely to suicides and other hazards amongst youth.
According to him: “Mental health affects people of different age, background and gender in different ways and shapes daily.
“ The mental health status of a person is critical to living as it is a major determinant of choices, how one relates with others and outlook on life.
“It also determines how people handle stress, depression and challenges in life.
“Depression is a common and serious mental health challenge that affects the way one thinks, feel and act.
“The more young people are aware of their mental health issues, the more they will be able to utilise mental health skills and to prevent suicide as well as handle depression.”
He, therefore, stressed the need for the public, particularly parents and schools to monitor and recognise when someone may be struggling with mental health issues by listening more, empathising and seek help, where needs be.
Our correspondent reports that the students effectively participated in the third edition of the dialogue on the Power of Your Mind Project (POYMP): An Effective Suicide Prevention Response Strategy for Young People in Nigeria” an initiative of Teens Global Foundation, held at the Korean Cultural Centre, Nigeria (KCCN), in Abuja.