Muslim women in Lagos State have asked governments at all levels and security agencies to pay attention to mental health.
The women, under the aegis of Sisters’ Circle of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, identified low attention to mental health as one of the causes of increasing cases of suicides and killings in Nigeria .
The Amirah (female president) of the MSSNLagos, Hajia Baseerah Majekodunmi, spoke on behalf of the women at a programme tagged Ummuhaat Day on Sunday.The Ummahaat Day, themed ‘Voice in her silence’, saw thousands of married women counseled on how to be mentally healthy.
She explained that the majority of those that engaged in suicide, violence, killings and other crimes were mentally unhealthy.
“Often times when we complain about mental health, a lot of people are quick to think that we are referring to madness. No! Being mentally unfit is beyond madness. A lot of crimes that you find people commit is as a result of their being mentally unfit. Depression alone has made many to commit suicide, some are mentally unfit to the extent of taking to drug abuse, then causing violence and crisis.“Beyond the provision of jobs, empowering youths, and stabilising the economy, government and security agencies must pay attention to mental health of the citizens. They must not neglect this aspect in our society as it has become a dangerous trend,” Hajia Majekodunmi said.
On her part, a lawyer and co-host on TVC’s “Your View”, Nyma Akashat Zibiri, advised men to help their wives to confront mental illnesses.
She referred to a recent report stating that women are now major consumers of hard drugs and advised females against resorting to drug when they are faced with challenges.
She urged men to always protect their wives, noting that they should always live up to their responsibilities at home.She cautioned Muslim men against threatening their wives with marrying more wives, saying that “polygamy, as encouraged by Islam, should not be abused. It should not be used as a tool to cause mental illness for women. Engaging in polygamy without comfort to the first wife and failing in your responsibility as a man is an abuse on your wife.”
A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Kafayat Ogunsola, after taking the married through how to avoid and cope with mental illnesses, urged them to build a strong network of family and social support.
“At the end of the day, no one is immune to mental ill-health. Our escape route may be in the form of healthy lifestyles, good coping skills and building a strong network of family and social support around us,” she added.
The MSSNLagos’ Ummahaat Coordinator, Rayhana Davies-Sani, expressed worry over the increasing rate of mental illnesses among women in the country.
She said: “This year’s theme was chosen due to increasing cases of women’s mental health. This will go a long way to chart a new course for us. There are so many challenges out there and you should not allow the challenges to take away our sanity. We cannot be in this world and do without challenges. It is the way these challenges are handled that will make or mar us.”