Move more for improved mental health, Centre urges Nigerians

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By Abiodun Azi

Greyhub Therapeutic Centre, a mental health centre, has urged Nigerians to always exercise to improve their mental health and well-being.

Dr Oluwakemi Akintoyese, Clinical Psychologist, Grey insights/Grey Hub Therapeutic Centre, gave the advice at a mental health awareness walk organised by the centre in commemoration of the 2024 Mental Health Awareness Week on Thursday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Mental Health Awareness Week, which has the theme, “Movement: Moving More for our Mental Health’’ aims to promote awareness about mental health.

Akintoyese explained that exercise helps to release endorphins, which aid improvement of moods and combats physical illnesses.

She said: “So, annually there is an international mental awareness week.

“Each year, there is a theme to sensitise people about the nature of mental health and to also understand that mental illness is real and that people can actually get help.

“But this year they are looking at the theme, `Movement: Moving More for our Mental Health’ and what the emphasis is, is that we need to move more.

“Exercises helps to release what we call the endorphins hormones, with the endorphins hormones, a feel good hormones, it helps us psychologically and helps us physically to be able to combat a lot of physical illnesses like depression, colon cancer and quite a whole lot of issues.’’

The clinical psychologist added that the walk, beyond raising awareness about mental health, was also aimed at reducing stigma.

According to her, stigma often prevents people from seeking help.

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She noted that the economic hardship had led many Nigerians into depression, which according to her, could lead to faulty thinking patterns, negativity, social withdrawal and anxiety about the future.

She advised that it was crucial for people to open up communication about mental health, saying there was no shame in seeking help.

Akintoyese said that there were resources available, like Grey Hub Therapeutic Centre, where people could talk to professionals and receive support.

She said: “At GreyHub Therapeutic Centre, one of the things we do and will be doing during this mental health awareness week is to create a space on Thursday and Friday where people can come in and get help.

“They can talk to professionals and then they can express themselves, assessment will be done and then they will tell you what you need to do.’’

Yussuff Alawode, Clinical Psychologist, GreyInsights Limited /GreyHub Therapeutic Centre, advised people against using substances like alcohol, cannabis, and gambling to cope with mental health challenges.

He said that self-medicating with alcohol, cannabis, or gambling was not a solution to these problems.

These crutches, he said, could lead to addiction and worsen their situation.

Alawode said: “You are stronger than your problems; you have the inner strength to overcome difficult circumstances. Don’t rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms.

“Gambling creates a cycle of debt and disappointment. It’s based on luck, not skill, and will likely lead to financial ruin.

“Regular cannabis use can become an addiction, and will make it difficult for you to function without it.’’(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Vivian Ihechu

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