By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt, May 29, 2022 (NAN) The Naval Officer’s Wives Association (NOWA) has expressed concern over rising cases of poor mental health among children and teenagers in the country.
Hajiya Nana Gambo, President of NOWA, expressed the concern at a seminar organised by NOWA which was held at the Nigeria Navy Secondary School Borokiri in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
The workshop with the theme “Dealing with Depression” was organised as part of a week-long celebration to mark the 66th anniversary of the Nigeria Navy.
“Historically, women are first responders to the needs of a child, and as such, there is the need for mothers to help their children achieve their full potential.
“According to the United Nations, one out of six Nigerians aged 16 to 24 is suffering from poor mental health – with 96,000 reported cases from adolescence alone this year.
“The number of children and young adults with mental health challenges also increased since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“We are worried by the alarming rise in cases of young Nigerians with mental health problems especially with little or no investments to address the menace,” she expressed concern.
The NOWA president, who is the wife of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said there was need to create awareness to tackle the root causes of the menace.
Gambo said the concern prompted NOWA to organise the seminar to expose mothers to the danger and learn ways to tackle the menace.
“However, women also face a number of mental health challenges themselves but still they have a great role to play in society.
“Many great women suffer in society but are always asked to appear strong in control of their affairs.
“So, to reverse this ugly trend, NOWA invited two renowned specialists in the team of psychologists to enlighten our women and mothers about this challenge,” she added.
Speaking, Dr Chinwe Onuegbu, a psychologist urged mothers to closely monitor their children and ward to detect behavioural changes.
She said one of the easiest ways to identify children with poor mental health conditions was when they suddenly withdraw themselves from all activities.
“Children and teenagers are vibrant; they want to mix with their pairs and explore as well as are very inquisitive.
“So, when you see a child withdrawn there is a problem. When this happens, we should begin to look deep as there is something happening inwards.
“Mothers should not take it that the child is quiet hence his or her withdrawal. This is untrue because children or teenagers are very active people
“If you notice any sign of depression, this is the time to call for help – because they need to talk to someone to identify the problem early enough,” she told participants. (NAN)