Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Half of all mental illness begins by the age 13, the Provost and Medical Director of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Timothy Olaolu Adebowale, has disclosed.
Adebowale gave this disclosure on Wednesday in Abeokuta, at a press conference organized by the hospital as part of its activities marking 2018 World Mental Health Day.
The theme of this year’s event is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”.
According to the Provost, most cases of mental illness in young adults go undetected and untreated, and noted that the burden of the disease and depression remain the third leading cause of death among adolescents, after suicide.
He hinted that harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents had become a major issue in many countries, which he said could lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex, dangerous driving and crimes.
While noting that mental illness in adolescents portends short and long term dangers for the nation’s economy, society, families and communities, Adebowale, said efforts should be geared towards building mental resilience and prevent mental distress and illness among young adults.
He, however, called on the government to invest in programmes capable of developing and promoting healthy mental health of the young people.
“Investment by governments and the involvement of the social, health, education sectors and the media in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential.
“This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults on ways to look after their mental health, and to help peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students”. The Provost submitted.