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Mental Health
Media Charged on Portraying Mental Illness in Positive Light

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, University Health Service, University of Ibadan, Dr Alero Adegbolagun has charged media houses to portray mental illness in a positive light in their reports.

She noted that when negative stereotypes come up in conversations or in the media and it can actively dispel myths and educate people against harmful and inaccurate stereotyping.

Adegbolagun said this on Tuesday during 1 kilometre walk and public talk organised by All Rotary Clubs in Ibadan In celebration of World Mental Health Day. The event witnessed a walk by the clubs from Bodija market to the University of Ibadan and public talks held at Sultan Bello Hall Dome, University of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Speaking on the topic ‘Mental illness and stigma’ she stated that patients with mental illness should not be discriminated against on account of their illness but should receive some standard and quality of care as others.

She added that media houses and the public should be mindful of the words used in describing patients with mental illness.

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Adegbolagun however noted that patients with mental illness are not as violent as people portray them as she added that anyone can comedown with mental illness.

Also speaking, another guest speaker at the event, A Consultant Psychiatrist and former Acting Head of Clinical Services, Federal Medical Center, Owo, Ondo state, Dr Kunle Adesokan lauded, Former Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari for signing the mental health bill into law.

He lamented the low population of Psychiatrist doctors in Nigeria compared to the ones abroad. Adesokan noted that over 700,000 people die due to suicide every year adding that people with severe mental disorders may have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years shorter than their life span.

He, however, advised that in a way to prevent suicide, necessary steps be taken, through the creation of more mental and health services, restriction of means of suicide, employment of more mental health professionals, improved social policy to tackle poverty, better funding of government hospitals and responsible as opposed to sensational media reporting.

Adesokan further urged media houses to dwell more on the treatable cause of suicide to encourage health-seeking behaviour by those contemplating suicide.

While he also warned against the stigmatization of patients with mental illness adding that the general public should avoid passing critical comments on them.

SOURCE: Tribune