Photo by Colin Davis on Unsplash

by Diana Eyo-Enoette

“When something is wrong let us straighten it out Vive le Rotary”…

In Rotary we believe in togetherness, support and empowering persons as means of creating change.

This Rotary year, under the leadership of District Governor Rtn. Ayoola Oyedokun a maiden Mental Health Initiative Committee chaired by Rtn. Diana Eyo-Enoette has been set up to educate, create awareness and provide basic mental wellness support, when and wherever possible.

The subject of mental health is considered one that should not be discussed in broad daylight especially in Nigeria.

The general perception is that the subject refers to psychiatric patients but WHO defines mental health as “general well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community”.

It is related to the promotion of overall health, the prevention of disease, and the treatment and rehabilitation of people negatively affected by illness.

Our interventions while aimed at the general citizenry, would focus primarily on adolescence in view of their vulnerability to undetected mental health challenges and the long-term impact it has on them and the society at large.

Primary areas of concern would be education on and prevention of anxiety and addictions, lending support to nip this unfortunate trend among the younger generation.

To help our youth the truth to know, requires us telling them the dangers of substance abuse and navigating them to resources that would engage and help their minds.

The issues of drug and substance abuse is not just a Nigerian problem. Drug abuse is emerging as a global public health issue.

The recent world drug report-2019 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that 271 million (5.5%) of the global population (aged between 15 and 64 years), had used drugs in the previous year. Psychoactive substances among adolescents and youths contributes potentially to deliberate or unintended harm/injury.

In Nigeria, the 2018 UNODC report titled “Drug use in Nigeria” indicates that one in seven persons (aged 15–64 years) had used a drug in the past year. And also that, drug abuse has been a cause of many criminal offences such as theft, burglary, rape, sex work, shoplifting etc.

Inevitably, you, or someone close to you, will be offered drugs and the decision of whether or not to use them could drastically affect your life.

Most addicts never expected a drug to take control of their life or maybe that they started with “just pot” and that it was “just something to do” with their friends. They thought they could handle it and when they found out they couldn’t, it was too late.

Global prevalence of drug use is 5.6% but in Nigeria, it is 14.4% (14.3 million people); 1 in 7 persons in Nigeria between the ages of 15 and 64 years use at least one psychoactive substance as against global average of 1 in 20; 1 in every 4 drug users in Nigeria is a woman; Women involvement in substance abuse has more implications than men, especially considering the critical role of women in child nurturing from the womb;  one of 5 high risk drug users inject drugs, using needle and syringe. This has its own multiplier health consequences.

Deevoice is my platform for providing support to persons via weekly podcast aimed at sharing experience and hope, anxiety and depression requires a show of love and trigger of hope to leap out of it.

Our younger generation and indeed every Nigerian needs a reason to push another day, and better serve our fathers’ land with love and strength and faith.

Rtn Diana Eyo-Enoette, (Deevoice)
Mental Health Chair, 2021/2022.

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