By Ndidi Chukwu
Group founded to increase profile of mental health, Reconnect has written President Muhammadu Buhari for public support to remove stigma associated with mental health. At its first-ever awareness dinner in Abuja, Reconnect focused on mental health for young people exposed to genetic and social factors that lead to depression or drug dependence for which stigma prevents them from getting help.
“You cannot be creating jobs for the youths without making sure the youths are fine,” said Dr Vincent Udenze, consultant psychiatrist based in the UK and President of Reconnect.
“We have realized youths are wasting away, unable to retain their jobs, struggling because they are dependent on drugs.” Dr Udenze said concern about “family name” prevented people from admitting to mental health problems like depression or even getting help.
“It is high time we de-stigmatized mental health,” he said, giving reason for gathering concerned proponents of mental health in Abuja.
“We want to get family members to care, [as well as] people of good standing. It is high time we stopped saying drugs make you a bad person.”
It comes amidst concern about young people getting exposed to drugs–up to four different substances of abuse–at increasingly early ages, and putting their futures and that of the country in jeopardy.
“We must all join hands, so that this menace is stopped,” said Nu’uman Dambatta.
“Because if you have youths that have all gone haywire, then whatever you are going to do, you will not succeed.”