Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, says that the commission will continue to support efforts to create awareness on mental health challenges and help in tackling them, even as he has said that apart from building roads and structures, the NDDC under him is also building human beings.
Speaking during the 13th Edition of the Eveafrique Redball, with special focus on mental health awareness and management, in Port Harcourt, Ogbuku lamented that mental health challenges were often compounded by the myths and stigma attached to them.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer, who was given the “Heart of Gold Award” for his contributions to spreading awareness in mental health management and other health issues in the Niger Delta region, noted that mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Ogbuku, who was represented by the Commission’s Director, Health and Social Services, Dr. George Uzonwanne, said that mental health issues affect “how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”
He added: “If we conduct a psychiatric evaluation of everyone in this room, we will find out that a good number of us are dealing with one mental health challenge or the other. Stress is part of life and will always be part of life, but how we react to it determines how well our mental health will be.”
He said that the mandate of the NDDC was beyond building physical infrastructure, stating: “It encompasses building human capacity and caring for the well-being of the people of the Niger Delta region.”
Speaking at the occasion, a Consultant Psychiatrist at Elpida Rehabilitation Centre, Port Harcourt, Dr. Ayodeji Oluwaseun, said that an increasing awareness of mental health helps the society to work towards eliminating its stigmas and addressing the challenges associated with mental illness.
He observed that developing a greater understanding of mental illness could allow people to recognise those in their lives who may be dealing with anxiety, depression, or other conditions that affect their mental well-being. He stressed that reducing the stigmas surrounding mental health could be a vital step for an individual seeking treatment.
The convener Eve Afrique Red Ball, Mrs. Ivy Davies Etokakpan, emphasised the importance of celebrating “remarkable individuals who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to the growth and development of the Niger Delta region and its people.”