For a country with such a large population, I’ve always found it worrying that there’s next to no commentary about mental health and wellbeing in Nigeria. It’s like all those other classic Nigerian problems that we choose to airbrush out of history – it’s like if we don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen. The problem with this is that the longer it goes on, the more deep rooted the issue gets. Over the weekend, Orji Sunday (a medical doctor) jumped off the 3rd Mainland Bridge to his death in the lagoon below. Rationally, Mr Orji’s death sparked a conversation because it is the most public suicide effort we have seen in Nigeria in living memory.
Occurrences like these and the many others which get little to know coverage create a need for forums like PsyndUp. The forum which launched earlier in March set out with the objective of assisting young Nigerians navigating through life’s challenges and unsure of how to handle the lemons life throws. In an ideal world, everyone should be able to speak about their problems without fear of judgement however, we’ve established that our world is not ideal and so PsyndUp allows users maintain anonymity. Despite being less than a month old, PsyndUp has already begun uniting people from all walks of life in conversation that is necessary and essential. To date, the 125 current members on PsyndUp have discussed topics such as Kemen and his inappropriate behavior on Big Brother Naija, the impact of nutrition on behavior, religion, relationships and many more topics that are neglected in Nigeria. The forum all seems jolly and helpful for the time being, probably because at the moment only a small group have been exposed to it and only because they probably understand the need for such conversations however, as growth occurs a problem that shall arise is those people who have little or nothing constructive to say in relation to the problems people have and it shall be interesting to see if or how PsyndUp weeds out such users.
Another plus that PsyndUp has is its ability to link users with therapists and with forums like these, everyone can find that one person to speak to and ensure that it doesn’t have to end with suicide for any others. We no longer need to pretend mental health issues make us less human than we are because help is out there and could be just the click of a couple of buttons away.