Defensive Driving

When we drive every day, we are always optimistic that we shall get to our destination safely. While we can control our actions behind the wheel, it is not possible to control the actions of other drivers.

Most vehicle accidents are actually as a result of human error. If an error is made at the wrong moment, an accident or collision will result. Therefore, a consistent, defensive approach to driving is the best way to reduce the likelihood of driver error.

Defensive driving can be defined as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.

It is also defined by some drivers as “driving as if everyone else on the road were drunk.”

Characteristics of a defensive driver

A defensive driver always applies the following safe driving skills;

  • Expect the unexpected by being aware of potential hazards and other road users’ actions around you, enabling you to take pro-active measures to avoid an incident. This can be achieved by searching and eye scanning while you drive. The mirrors are very helpful in this regard.
  • Always maintain a three second gap when following another vehicle. Do not tailgate other vehicles, as this will remove the opportunity for ample time and space to react to any sudden change, making it more likely to endanger yourself and those around you.
  • Avoid sudden stops by using turn signals and brakes in advance.

Driving Hazards

The following are at-risk behaviors that can lead to road traffic accidents (RTA);

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a type of traffic violation in which a driver displays complete disregard for road signs, signals, and laws. It is a common cause of car accidents, and because it usually involves high speeds or extremely dangerous driving tactics, it often results in the injury or death of one or more people.

Reckless driving includes; over speeding or driving above designated speed limits, racing with other vehicles, ignoring traffic signs, speeding at curves, junctions and blind spots, weaving through traffic, right-of-way violations, braking suddenly and tailgating.

Untrained Driver

An untrained driver is a silent killer. Untrained drivers are one of the main causes of increasing road accidents. The majority of drivers on roads have not passed the driving test. They neither have driving license nor proper knowledge of traffic signs and other rules and regulations. In spite of this ignorance, they continue to drive putting their lives and the lives of others in danger. Drivers must be trained and experienced to operate the vehicles they drive.

Driving in adverse weather conditions

Driving in adverse weather conditions affects your ability to see. When visibility and traction is reduced, the chances of an incident is greatly increased. Such weather conditions are rain, fog, ice, snow, sand storms, severe wind, glaring sunlight and dust. Driving in flooded areas is also very dangerous. Avoid puddles of water and hydroplaning, use windshield wipers and defroster, turn on lights and most importantly, reduce your speed. Consider parking for some time if the weather gets too harsh.

Night driving is also risky. Most vehicle accidents occur at night. The dangers of night driving include reduced visibility and poor ability to judge distances, movements, and colors.

Knowing the hazards associated with different weather conditions helps you to adapt your driving to the different situations.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention of the driver from the road. This includes calling or texting on your phone, applying make-up, eating, drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, writing or reading, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, road rage (angry or impatient driver) — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Distraction can be in three forms: Visual (for example taking your eyes off the road to look at your GPS, or check your noisy kids behind the car), Manual (taking your hands off the steering to eat, apply make-up or search your bag) and Cognitive (when you are occupied with other thoughts and you are not mentally focused).

Distracted driving increases the chance of a motor vehicle crash.

Vehicle inspection and maintenance

When was the last time you got your vehicle inspected and maintained? Drivers who drive unsafe vehicles are not only putting their lives in danger, they are also putting the lives of others in danger as well. Failure to properly maintain brakes, lights or tires can lead to injury or fatality. For example, a vehicle tire can get blown out, causing the vehicle to rollover. This can lead to very severe injury or fatality.

Outside the routine vehicle maintenance, there should be pre-use checks or inspections. This should include inspecting the tires, brakes, fluids (water and oil), windshield wipers, mirrors, lights and indicators and wash fluid, etc.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the largest risk factors that contribute to traffic collisions. Substance use can impair perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination, and other brain functions necessary for safe driving. There are several ways alcohol or drugs can impair your driving skills – slow reaction time, lack of coordination, reduce concentration, decrease vision, and inhibit judgment.

Safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good judgments and quickly react to situations. However, alcohol affects these skills, putting yourself and others in danger.

Fatigue

Fatigue is a term used to describe an overall feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. Fatigue has a huge impact on your driving and can affect your ability to drive safely, similar to the effect of driving under the influence of alcohol. Fatigue is a contributing cause of most road crashes. The main causes of fatigue when driving are; lack of quality sleep, overnight driving, driving for long hours without breaks and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Ensure you are medically fit to drive a vehicle; stop at intervals for rest over long travel distances; avoid medications that cause drowsiness; if you experience fatigue while driving, pull over the car to a safe condition and have a short rest.

Driving without seatbelt

Drivers and passengers, who don’t wear a seat belt are likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash.The primary purpose of wearing a seat belt is to increase the likelihood of survival for drivers and passengers in an accident. During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Get in the habit of always putting your safety belt on every time you get into a vehicle, no matter where you are sitting or the distance you are going.

In the event your car catches fire or gets submerged in water, there is a general believe that not wearing a seat belt makes you safe. This is an inaccurate assumption, as the impact from the accident could knock you unconscious and prevent you from exiting the vehicle, or even eject you from the vehicle. For this kind of accidents, it’s easier to be conscious and unbuckle yourself to escape.

Also note that a safety belt does not protect you when it’s not worn properly. Ensure seat belts are in working order.

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The Dark Side of Living and Moving Abroad

Nkem Ndem
Many days have since passed, still, I can’t shake off the dreadful feeling that came with the early hours of October 20, 2020.

I remember waking up and reaching for my phone, only to see messages from my friend’s wife telling me that the peaceful protesters at Lekki, Lagos, had been shot at by members of the Nigerian Army, leaving some protesters injured, and others murdered in cold blood.

The protests, which had begun to demand an end to police brutality and harassment of citizens by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), had escalated into the harrowing hashtag: #LekkiMassacre.

The thought of those innocent citizens lying there, helpless as a result of fighting for what was rightfully theirs, brought on a strong wave of anxiety – the kind that prickles your armpits, triggers nervous farts from your belly, and hits you with such nausea that you have to viciously grind your teeth to keep it from pouring out of you.

There was also the recurring thought that it could easily have been me.

I stay in Lekki Phase 1 whenever I am in Lagos, and I had friends who had been regularly going to the protests. It could have been me.

Seeing as it was about 8 AM for me in Japan, but midnight (the previous day) in Nigeria, I couldn’t reach anyone until much later in the day.

The first person I called was my favourite sister, Promise.

Then the rest of my family and close friends.

Thankfully, they were safe.

Speaking with one of my friends, however, a comment he made bugged me a lot.

He said, “Ah! My dear, you are so lucky you are not in Nigeria. Living abroad is the dream, I can’t wait to leave this country so that I can be happy in life, I swear.”

Sigh.

I wanted to say, “My dear, not all that glitters is gold,” but I knew he would only see it as me being ungrateful.

I mean, when you live and work abroad, you can’t complain to friends back home because, in their mind, you live the perfect life: beautiful weather, earning in dollars, 24 hours electric power supply, and good healthcare.

How dare you complain?

Following the turn of events in Nigeria with the protests, some Nigerians on social media have also comically indicated their readiness to leave Nigeria for countries such as Canada, Australia, Italy (thanks to the Oloture movie), and even Ghana—anything to escape the rot that is the Nigerian system.

To be fair, I get it.

But then I have to say, “Look before you leap.”

The idea of living abroad is often glamourised by the media, and we sometimes picture a perfect life filled with exciting adventures, unstinting opportunities for financial or career growth, the wonder and excitement of a new culture, food, people, and language, and so on.

But the truth is that living abroad is great until it isn’t.

Over time, the excitement and awe start to wear off.

The food that was once exotic becomes ordinary and utterly tasteless; the pressures of work combined with the herculean task of finding new friends and building a social life start to weigh you down; the unending list of bills make you want to ask if ‘na only you waka come’; and the loneliness chokes you so badly that life doesn’t just become less exciting, it also gets overwhelming and unbearable.

No one really tells you that relocating to another country comes with its own set of difficulties and concerns that, if not fully dealt with, can slowly lead to serious mental health challenges.

In the last 4 years, I have moved to and lived in 3 different countries, and I can tell you for sure that if someone had previously told me that I would ever get to the point of dealing with depression or any kind of mental health issue, I could have spat in such person’s face for even thinking it.

I mean, I am the strongest person I have ever met – emotionally and mentally.

My decision to move, live, and work abroad was meant to be a solution to the massive burnout I suffered from working multiple jobs in Lagos and still earning what I considered a pittance.

I was so relieved when we landed at Yangon airport, Myanmar, for my first overseas job that tears welled up in my eyes.

Now that I think about it, I guess that sense of relief was the reason I remained oblivious to the symptoms of depression until it escalated to the point of triggering an anxiety disorder as well.

I recall that for about three months before the night I became fully aware of the situation, I hadn’t been sleeping well and was always exhausted.

I had no energy, my patience level was significantly lower than usual, and I suffered a lack of appetite while also managing constipation that could not be abated by Tums.

Then there were the episodes of shallow breathing (I even went to the hospital to have my lungs x-rayed).

I was getting more emotionally fragile and highly unmotivated with everything.

I lost interest in socializing and that slowly bred what I prefer to call an existential crisis.

The crisis came with major intrusive thoughts that life was purposeless, hopeless, had no meaning and there was no rational reason to keep living.

It was insane.

The thoughts of death and dying were unending.

As much as I knew I would never harm myself, I found myself starting to empathize with people who commit suicide.

I thought, if they were ever mentally burdened the way that I was at the time, then maybe they were justified.

Of course, at the time, I wasn’t sure why all that was happening to me.

I didn’t understand it so I could not talk to anyone about it.

I think, to an extent, I was also ashamed of my thoughts.

The most chilling part of it all was that I wasn’t myself for all that time and no one noticed. Not my family.

Not my friends back home.

No one.

And yes, that’s another thing – when you move, your family and friends chat you up and FaceTime you like there’s no tomorrow for like the first one or two months, but as time goes, they kind of stop.

Perhaps, the time difference doesn’t help.

The panic attack that shook me into awareness came that night out of the blues.

No trigger.

Nothing at all.

I just remember that I woke up abruptly from sleep, my heart was beating ultra-fast, and a still small voice in my head said, “This is it, you are about to die now, say your last prayers.”

It was the most intense panic attack I have ever experienced to date, and I would not wish it on anyone, not even my enemy.

I wasn’t sure how I got to my neighbor’s apartment, but luckily she was awake.

She was, of course, terrified as I knocked on her door in my underwear.

She called the ambulance and they came, but before we got to the hospital, I was beginning to feel better.

The nurses did a full bodywork as well and said I was fine.

Then, after a series of questioning by the doctor, I was prescribed some anxiety medication, and scheduled to see a resident psychiatrist.

I initially opposed the idea of seeing a psychiatrist, not because of any stigma, but because it would cost me $250 per session and it wouldn’t be covered by my health insurance.

The schedule I was given was also a bit loaded. I eventually caved in and after a few sessions, she determined it was ‘expat depression.’

Further sessions and study of my symptoms also determined I had an additional anxiety disorder – all from starting life in a new country.

Who would have thought this was a thing?

I opened up to a few friends earlier this year about my experience and how I dealt with it all, and I found that one who relocated to Canada and others who live and work in some other parts of the world also had similar experiences but never talked about it for fear of being tagged ‘weak.’

Sigh.

I think it is a shame that we do not talk enough about the depression that comes with moving abroad or just the mental health side of it.

It is something people have been and will continue to deal with.

No one is immune when it comes to stress and mental health issues. Being aware of it and knowing others who are going through it, or have gone through it, can be helpful.

My experience and those of my friends are probably unique to people who move abroad alone and for work purposes.

Perhaps the experience may be different for people who move abroad to continue their education or people who move with their family.

While I cannot speak for all situations, I have to say that if you are planning on relocating abroad for any reason at all, please manage your expectations.

Do not imagine a chop life situation, expect it to be challenging.

Research properly and ask people who moved to your intended location questions about coping with life and the standard of living there.

Doing that will help you shape the right mindset.

Next, ensure you prioritize self-care when you eventually move so that you are able to face the challenges that each day brings.

Remember to sleep and exercise.

Recognize depression if or when it sets in, and seek help at the earliest opportunity.

You can keep up with friends and family at home as much as possible, but also try going out and making new friends locally.

Finally, know that there is no shame in running home if you find that you can’t cope.

Your happiness and sanity matters.

 

Nkem Ndem is a member of D.I.S.S Alumni, Class of 2001. This article was originally published on Bella Naija blog.

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Mental Health Prevalence in Children and Youth

Editor’s Note:

This article was originally published on Safe Responders’ website (saferesponders.help).

Safe Responders is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization, which provides free emergency response services in Nigeria.

Okechukwu Onye, a member of D.I.S.S Alumni (Class of 1997), founded Safe Responders.

 

picture of a frightened boy

According to World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

The United Nations, for statistical purposes, defines ‘youth’, as those “persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by the Member States”.

By that definition, therefore, children are those persons under the age of 14.’’

Mental health disorders account for the highest burden of disease among young people worldwide.

More than 50% of mental health disorders can be diagnosed before the age of 25, making childhood and youth years a critical time for mental health promotion.

Early identification and access to effective treatment is very important.

Having a mental health disorder at a young age is different from having one as an adult.

When a developing child or youth is afflicted with a mental health disorder, it becomes difficult for them to acquire the necessary skills and habits that they should, at that time in their lives.

Prevention of a disorder at a young age may significantly decrease the chances that a child will suffer from a disorder later in life.

Promoting healthy behaviours and taking steps to better protect young people from health risks are critical for the prevention of health problems in adulthood.

Therefore, it is strongly advised that parents should keep an eye on their children if they have any reason to believe that something is not right.

If they are evaluated of any mental health disorder earlier, treating and managing it becomes easier.

Early signs of Mental Health Disorder in Children and Youth

There is no medical test or scan that reliably indicates whether a person has developed a mental illness.

However, people should look out for the following as possible signs of a mental health disorder:

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and colleagues
  • Avoiding activities that they would normally enjoy
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having consistently low energy
  • Using mood-altering substances, including alcohol and nicotine, more frequently
  • Displaying negative emotions
  • Being confused
  • Being unable to complete daily tasks, such as getting to work or cooking a meal
  • Having persistent thoughts or memories that reappear regularly
  • Thinking of causing physical harm to themselves or others
  • Hearing voices
  • Experiencing delusions

Key risk factors for mental health disorders in Children and Youth

  • Civil conflicts and Political instability
  • Poverty
  • Underemployment and unemployment
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Child Abuse
  • Molestation and Rape
  • Violence
  • Diseases and ill Health (such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and the current COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Social Influence, Bullying and Stigmas
  • Homelessness

Common Mental Health Disorders in Children and Youth

Anxiety disorder and panic attacks

When a child has an anxiety disorder, they begin to lack proper social interaction and associate many ordinary things with intense fear.

This can be scary for the child because they don’t necessarily understand why they act and think the way they do.

Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience.

Most of the time, these emotions are not a problem.

People who struggle with anxiety disorder often find themselves struggling with low self-esteem.

They may have poor confidence in themselves or think they are worthless.

Depression

Depression is diagnosed if a person experiences these symptoms for more than 2 weeks: Feeling sad, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, difficulty concentrating and making a decision, changes in appetite, overeating or not eating enough, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, fatigue, restless activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech, feelings of worthlessness or guilt and thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) – Anger  

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is an impulse-control disorder characterized by sudden episodes of unwarranted anger.

The disorder is typified by hostility, impulsivity, and recurrent aggressive outbursts.

People with IED essentially “explode” into a rage despite a lack of apparent provocation or reason.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that can cause extreme periods of low (depressed) and high (manic) moods.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which you cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others.

But you may feel so embarrassed, ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life.

It is characterized by unstable moods, behaviour and relationships.

Dissociation and dissociative disorders

It is a mental process where a person disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity.

Dissociative disorders include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder.

Drugs & alcohol addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction affects a person’s brain and behaviour and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.

Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs. When you are addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.

Eating disorder/problems

An eating disorder is when someone has unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviour around food.

Hearing voices

Mental health professionals may call hearing voices an ‘auditory hallucination’.

A hallucination is where you might see, hear, taste, smell or feel something that exists only in your mind.

It can be a common symptom of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or severe depression.

Hoarding

Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.

A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.

Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.

Hypomania and mania

Mania and hypomania are periods where a person feels elated, very active, and full of energy.

Hypomania is a milder form of mania.

Mania and hypomania both involve periods when the individual feels excited or experiences an energized mood.

Loneliness

Loneliness is an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

It is a mental disorder in which a person feels the need to perform certain routines repeatedly (called “compulsions”), or has certain thoughts repeatedly (called “obsessions”), to an extent which generates distress or impairs general functioning.

Panic attack

A sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety and physical symptoms, based on a perceived threat rather than imminent danger.

Paranoid Personality disorder (PPD)

People with PPD suffer from paranoia, an unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others, even when there is no reason to be suspicious.

Personality disorders

A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.

Phobias

Phobias are a persistent, intense, and unrealistic fear of a certain object or situation.

Postnatal depression & perinatal mental health

This is a depression that occurs after childbirth.

Those who develop postpartum depression are at greater risk of developing major depression later on in life.

Symptoms might include insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability and difficulty bonding with the baby.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis given to people who develop a certain set of symptoms following a traumatic event.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in a week or two before your period starts.

Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts.

Psychosis

Psychosis is a term used to describe when a person perceives the world in a different way to those around them.

This can include how a person will experience, believe or view things.

Schizoaffective disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that affects a person’s mood, thoughts and behaviour.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks.

It may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behaviour that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

A mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year.

Self-harm

Self-harm is when someone purposely hurts themselves, usually in order to cope with intense emotional distress.

Sleep problems or Insomnia

Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the ability to sleep well on a regular basis.

Insomnia, the inability to get to sleep or sleep well at night, can be caused by stress, jet lag, a health condition, the medications you take, or even the amount of coffee you drink.

Suicidal feelings

This is when someone thinks of taking their own life.

Trauma

Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causing feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences.

Specific ways to promote mental health in Children and Youth include:

  1. Early childhood interventions (e.g. providing a stable environment that is sensitive to children’s health and nutritional needs, with protection from threats, opportunities for early learning, and interactions that are responsive, emotionally supportive and developmentally stimulating);
  2. Support to children (e.g. life skills programs, child and youth development programs);
  3. Socio-economic empowerment of youth (e.g. improving access to education and microcredit schemes);
  4. Programs targeted at vulnerable people, including minorities, indigenous people, migrants and people affected by conflicts and disasters (e.g. psycho-social interventions after disasters);
  5. Mental health promotional activities in schools (e.g. programs involving supportive ecological changes in schools);
  6. Housing policies for the homeless
  7. Violence prevention programs (e.g. Prevent access to drugs and arms, promote ‘’drink responsibly’’ among youth);
  8. Poverty reduction and social protection for the poor;
  9. Anti-discrimination laws and campaigns;
  10. Promotion of the rights, opportunities and care of individuals with mental disorders.

Mental Health Care and Treatment

It is always important to take psychiatric care for the patient with mental health illness.

Although it is considered a stigmatized and spiritual matter sometimes, however nowadays people are getting aware of these things and seeking medical treatment and psychosocial counselling for their betterment.

Therefore, building life skills in children and youth and providing them with psychosocial support in schools and other community settings can help promote good mental health.

Programs to help strengthen the ties between the youth and their families are also important.

If problems arise, they should be detected and managed by competent and caring health workers.

Treatment Methods for Mental health disorders include:

Pharmacotherapy/Medication

Pharmacotherapy/Medication is a therapy that uses pharmaceutical drugs.

Pharmacotherapy is used in the treatment of mental illness through the use of antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and anxiolytic drugs.

These drugs do not really cure mental disorders, rather, they can improve symptoms and help a person resume social interaction and a normal routine while they work on their mental health.

Physical activity

For some people, physical exercise can improve mental as well as physical health.

Playing sports, walking, cycling or doing any form of physical activity triggers the production of various hormones, sometimes including endorphins, which can elevate a person’s mood.

Activity therapies

Activity therapies, also called recreation therapy and occupational therapy, promote healing through active engagement.

Making crafts can be a part of occupational therapy.

Walks can be a part of recreation therapy.

In recent years colouring has been recognized as an activity which has been proven to significantly lower the levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety in many studies.

Expressive therapies

Expressive therapies or creative arts therapies are a form of psychotherapy that involves the arts or art-making.

These therapies include art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, and poetry therapy.

It has been proven that Music therapy is an effective way of helping people who suffer from a mental health disorder.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is a general term for the science-based treatment of mental health issues based on modern medicine.

Examples are Cognitive behavioural therapy, Psychedelic therapy, transpersonal psychology/psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Dialectical behavioural therapy.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and some primary care physicians carry out this type of treatment.

It can help people understand the root of their mental illness and start to work on more healthful thought patterns that support everyday living and reduce the risk of isolation and self-harm.

Meditation

The practice of mindfulness meditation has several mental health benefits, such as bringing about reductions in depression, anxiety and stress.

Mindfulness meditation may also be effective in treating substance use disorders.

Further, mindfulness meditation appears to bring about favourable structural changes in the brain.

Mental fitness

Mental fitness is a mental health movement that encourages people to intentionally regulate and maintain their emotional wellbeing through friendship, regular human contact and activities that include meditation, calming exercises, aerobic exercise, and mindfulness, having a routine and maintaining adequate sleep.

Mental fitness is intended to build resilience against every-day mental health challenges to prevent an escalation of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, and help them cope with the escalation of those feelings if they occur.

Spiritual Counseling

Spiritual counsellors meet with people in need to offer comfort and support and to help them gain a better understanding of their issues. These types of counsellors deliver care based on spiritual, psychological and theological principles.

Although, this is often misconstrued by some religious leaders, who believe that mental health disorders are signs of possession by the devil.

This has led to several mentally ill patients being dehumanized, as practiced in the ancient days, before Dorothea Dix, a retired Boston teacher who is considered the founder of the Mental Health Movement, began a crusade in 1943 that would change the way people with mental disorders are viewed and treated.

She submitted a Memorial to the Legislature of Massachusetts, describing the abusive treatment and horrible conditions received by the mentally ill patients in jails, cages, closets, cellars and pits, chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience.

Self-help

A person coping with mental health difficulties will usually need to make changes to their lifestyle to facilitate wellness.

Such changes might include reducing alcohol intake, sleeping more and eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

People may need to take time away from work or resolve issues with personal relationships that may be causing damage to their mental health.

People with conditions such as anxiety or depressive disorder may benefit from relaxation techniques, which include deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness.

Having a support network (e.g. Volunteer groups, close friends and family, pets) can also be essential to recovery from mental illness.

Friends are a support system for the child and family as a whole.

Living with a mental disorder is never easy, so it’s always important to have people around to make the days a little easier.

However, there are negative factors that come with the social aspect of mental illness as well.

Parents are sometimes held responsible for their child’s illness.

People also say that the parents raised their children in a certain way or they acquired their behaviour from them.

Family and friends are sometimes so ashamed of the idea of being close to someone with a disorder that the child feels isolated and thinks that they have to hide their illness from others when in reality, hiding it from people prevents the child from getting the right amount of social interaction and treatment in order to thrive in today’s society.

Therefore, it is strongly advised that parents should keep an eye on their children if they have any reason to believe that something is not right.

If they are evaluated of any mental health disorder earlier, treating and managing it becomes easier.

 

 

 

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