Cross River Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. RoseMary Archibong has lauded the inclusiveness of young people in governance by Governor Ben Ayade as a panacea for improving quality of life and preventing depression that could cause mental disorders among the young ones.
Mrs. Archibong, who made the commendation at the 2018 World Mental Health Day, held at Transcorp Hotel, yesterday in Calabar, pointed out that exemplifies youth engagement in activities of leadership and service delivery have in turn provided a means of livelihood for the youths, reducing problems tantamount to mental health to the barest minimum.
The Information and Orientation Commissioner also called on parents and guardians to maintain close family relationships with their kids and wards as a panacea for checking the mental wellness of their children/wards.
Mrs. maintained that since the home is the first point of a child’s education, good family bond will keep at bay mental related issues like depression, substance abuse and other vices that are inimical to the society.
The Information and Orientation boss also discouraged discrimination for victims of mental illnesses, calling on the society to show empathy for such victims, while promising to propagate mental health education through the information machinery of the State.
Articulating her views, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong described the theme for the 2018 World Mental Health Day, “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World,” as apt and a step in the right direction.
Dr. Asibong said in a world where young people are influenced by peer pressure, the internet and high rate of substance abuse, the Cross River State Government has an Adolescent Training Centre where mental health is mainstreamed and psychosocial support is given to youths.
The Health Commissioner also stated that quipped that in getting the youths a means of livelihood, the present administration is kicking round the clock to ensure employment through the YESSO Programme, the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company and a host of other industries littered across the State.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, emphasized on the need for proper mental health care for Cross Riverians, and assured of domestication of mental health programmes to the primary health facilities across the State.
Speaking on “Mentorship as a driver of Mental Wellbeing among Young People,” Dr. Nsikak Ntia stated that half of all mental illness begins at the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.
Dr. Ntia said harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs is a major issue and can lead to risky behaviours like unsafe sex, dangerous driving and eating disorders, with suicide the second leading cause of deaths among 15-29-year-olds, while depression is the third leading cause of diseases among adolescents.
He adjured parents, guardians and mental health professional to take mentorship of young people seriously, maintaining that it will go a long way in reducing issuies of mental illness.
The 2018 Mental Health Day in Calabar featured discussions by competent specialists in the mental health profession, which included: Mental Heal – The Scour of Substance Abuse among Youths; the Role of School Mental Health in Stemming the Rising Incidence of Mental Illness among Young People; Mentorship as a Driver of Mental Wellbeing among Young People; and the Role of NGOs and Community-Based Organizations in Mental Health Care Services.
The event also featured panel discussions, reactions and question and answer session