Muslim women tackle mental illness

PHOTO: iWitness NG

Scores of Muslims women (Muslimahs) at the “Ummuat Day” organized by Ummuat Forum, an arm of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Unit, to chart path to tackling mental illness in the country.

A gest speaker, and Consultant Psychiatrist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr Kafayat Ogunsola, who spoke at the conference said the issue of mental illness has taken a worse turn with over 30 million Nigerians likely be predisposed to it.

The young population too is said to be at risk as one out of 10 persons between the ages 10-30 is said to have been predisposed to emotional or mental disorder. Noting that the women folk are more prone to mental illnesses of all kinds, she emphasized the need to intensify adequate education and corrective measures for both genders on the matters of mental health.

Ogunsola made this known while speaking on the theme: “Voice in Her Silence” at a gender based conference tagged: “Ummuat Day” organized under the auspices of Ummuat Forum, an arm of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Unit on Sunday.

She said: “Mental illnesses are silent illnesses, because it’s only the victims that experience the trauma. Mental illness often arises from domestic violence, molestation, sexual abuses, divorce, rape, widowhood, loss of loved ones, scarification, bullying, body shaming.”

She added: “Mental health is very critical. Even if you’ve not achieved your goals and potentials, you will realize what you can do and be able to make right decisions and meaningful contributions to the society. The needs of a woman alone can lead a woman to depression. Never make joke of anything. Suicide is most difficult health issue to handle apart from cancer and old accident,” she said.

She however, said treatment works in mental health and behavioural disorder adding that pressures of family and societies portend challenges for the mental and emotional stability of women in the contemporary society.

Ogunsola also said it is pertinent for women to engage in active work or career in a pleasurable environment in order for them to have a stable mental health.

Ace Television presenter, Nimat Akashat, in her lecture, lamented that substance abuse has become a situation women are now forced to live with due to emotional traumas.

She said: “It is sad that women and teenage girls now resort to substance abuse as a way of escaping from various kinds of mental and emotional troubles. Sadly, we don’t entrench Islam rather, what we entrench is culture. Some Muslim women now see Tramadol and Codeine as alternative to alcohol.

“What we have also realized in recent times is that in some cases, polygamy has become a major avenue for abuses for women. Women now rely on drugs in order erase bitter experiences from their memory. Unfortunately, these substances never leave their body, but only stay long and attack other organs in the body,” she said.

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