Let’s talk about mental health – Report from this week’s #RubbinMinds


by Isi Esene

Mental illness was the focus of the second edition of the restructured Rubbin’ Minds this week. It is an illness that plagues many families with a unjustified stigma attached to any family who admits suffering from it.

Beyond those who have escalated to the level of the psychotic, many other Nigerians suffer from this plague. More shocking however is the realization that an estimated 90 per cent of persons with mental illness can’t get help.

There are different causes of mental health which include “inherent causes”, which may include hereditary and also non-hereditary genetic causes which may result from a transference in the womb during child birth related to virus infection or medication taken.

Some of the questions this edition of Rubbin’ Minds aims to find answers to are the causes of mental illness, the noticeable symptoms that may draw attention, the main challenges of government in tackling this scourge and more.

Another segment of the program with the theme; The Melody of Money, takes an incursion into the world of music, highlighting the business angle. Guests, including Ikhane Akhigbe, Ill Bliss, Tola Odunsi, Bayo Omisore, and Godwin Tom talk about the structure of the music business in Nigeria, its strengths, weaknesses and how we can be better positioned, opportunities for government involvement et al.

The show starts with the host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu asking a distinguished panel of medical experts about the illness and the perception of Nigerians towards it.

The panel included Dr. Mrs Akinola, Mr. Owoyemi Emmanuel and three members of the mental health team of Lagos State.

Owoyemi said, “It’s the understanding we have about mental illness that is causing the trouble. It’s as if we do not have some of it that is not spiritual.”

He talked about the lack of adequate mental health treatment facilities in the country saying, “We don’t actually have the facilities for mental illness in Lagos even in Nigeria. In Ibadan, we have a traditional man that has about 3000 people he is catering for that have mental illness.

“We have poverty, infrastructural deficiencies,” he concluded.

When asked about the act of talking to oneself as a symptom of mental illness, Ann, another member of the mental health discussion panel said, “Yes, under the influence of cannabis.”

In the second segment of the programme, the business of music was discussed. A discussant, Bayo Omisore said, “Setting up a record label is the easiest thing you can do. With a record company, you have to have your facilities. The biggest challenge comes with managing human beings.”

Superstar rapper, Illbliss said, “I’ve always believed artists always have an expiry date, I had a day job when I started out making music… I was a banker for 3 years.”

Ikhane Akhigbe lamented the dearth of infrastructure in the country to quickly develop the industry.

“Even Kenya and Zambia, they actually have infrastructures,” Akhigbe said.

Omisore probably gave the quote of the show when asked by Ebuka what he wants to see in the music industry in 2013, he simply answered: “I want to see more money.”

With that financial memory quote this interesting edition of Rubbin’ Minds was brought to a close.

Join us next week for another interesting edition of the newly revamped programme, Rubbin’ Minds.

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