… Says mental health cases on increase in the country
From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Manoso Ndagoso has noted that the current government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has dwindled the people’s hope of its promise to tame poverty, insecurity and turn things around for the better in the country.
Bishop Ndagoso said Nigerians had exhibited high hope that the government was coming to ensure that the largest concentration of poorest of the poor  as well as insecurity were reduced to bearable minimum in the country, but to no avail.
Speaking on Wednesday at the 2024 Annual Archdiocesan General Assembly of the  Archdiocese, Bishop Ndagoso noted that these negative factors have also caused increase in mental health cases in recent times in the country.
The General Assembly has the theme, ‘Integrating mental health Into Pastoral Care In The Archdiocese of Kaduna’.
Lamenting that mental health cases were on the rise in the society, the Catholic Clergyman called on government at all levels to urgently proffer solutions to the problem by addressing poverty and insecurity which he noted were responsible for mental health disorder in most homes in the country.
He however, appealed to Nigerians to give government the benefit of the doubt in her pledge to renew the people’s hope for a better Nigeria.
“Regrettably, our country is still leading the world with the largest concentration of the poorest of the poor, namely, people living below the poverty line.’ We had hope that the new administration will change things for the better. Thus far the indications and even the reality on the ground do not seem to give the needed hope especially in terms of the rising cost of living. We have been assured time and again that things will get better. We are a people of hope. Let us give the current government the benefit of the doubt.
“Given what our country has been going through in the last 13 or so years with insurgency, banditry, kidnappings for ransom, farmers/herders conflicts, ethno-religious conflicts, armed robbery, alcohol and substance abuse and of late, the very high cost of living caused mainly by the unplanned and hasty removal of fuel subsidy and the free floating of the Naira which led to its unimaginable devaluation and has brought unprecedented and untold hardship on the vast majority of the citizenry, causing all kinds of illnesses both mental and physical.
“Many people have lost not only their sources of livelihood but above all their homes and ancestral lands. Acute hunger leading to malnutrition and death especially of children are the order of the day in our country today.  Many are at a loss. Depression, anxiety and fear of the unknown are on the increase in the land. This is the context of our mission. And since the gospel must always be preached in context and in response to the reality of peoples’ lives, how do we as a particular church entrusted with the mission of proclaiming the Gospel respond to this challenging situation that many of our faithful are faced with? This is why the choice of our theme for this year’s General Assembly is not only apt but timely.
“By this Assembly we as a particular church are saying that kidnappings, banditry and insurgency cannot separate us from spreading the good news of the kingdom of God.  It goes without saying that we are meeting in the most difficult and challenging times in the history of our county caused mainly by some hurriedly put together and implemented Federal Government policies like the unplanned removal of fuel subsidy and the free-floating of the Naira against major international currencies which has skyrocketed the cost of living beyond the means of most Nigerians.
“We meet in this context to continue to explore more effective ways and means of proclaiming the gospel entrusted to us. As always, it is at times like this that we are called “not only to preach the gospel but to be the gospel for others, to be good news for others”. In other words, giving people reason to live or, better still, giving people hope in a seeming hopeless situation,  is what our collective mission as a particular church is all about.
“As has been the case in the last few years, our gathering in General Assembly in spite of the serious challenges we face especially with insecurity is a big statement that indeed nothing, not even the high cost of living and the threat of death can come between us and the love of Christ; neither can it break the bond of communion that binds us together as a family of God on a mission”. Bishop Ndagoso said.