A mental health expert at St Louis Medical Centre, Lagos, Dr Omowumi Mosaku, has said that stress, failure to eat a balanced diet are some of the factors that could affect people’s mental alertness. Mosaku, while speaking on the topic, ‘Mental alertness and productivity’ on Eko FM, last Thursday, said it was unfortunate that many Nigerians still stigmatised people suffering from mental illness.
He said, “Since human thinking takes place in the brain, mental alertness allows you to be productive. The level at which the brain can function is paramount to a person’s productive capacity. Mental illness doesn’t allow you to be very productive.
“Basically, this kind of illness has to do with how you think, how you perceive things, how you see yourself and these translate to everything you do. So anything that will undermine your thinking capability and your productivity is mental illness.” She noted that the risk factors for mental illness and lack of mental alertness could be biological, environmental or psychological.
“Some are born like that. Prolonged labour could result in giving birth to a child with a brain defect. Substance abuse and sexual abuse could also affect peoples’ mental alertness. It eats deep into their subconscious and doesn’t allow them to function at the height of their capability.
“If people don’t eat well, it could affect their mental alertness. When you are deficient in some vitamins that aid the brain to functions well, it affects mental alertness,” Mosaku added. She also advised Nigerians to eat well and have enough rest, since stress is also a risk factor for mental illness.
“When you are tired, you can’t focus and you find yourself repeating something all over. You have a working time frame. When you get home prioritise your sleep. If need be, talk to a doctor. Find out what the problem is about and how it can be resolved. If the problem requires medication, it will be prescribed. Still, most times what some people need is someone to talk to,” she said.
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