Nigerian Activists and Their Mental Health Status

Nigerian Activists and Their Mental Health Status

Like other countries in the world where socioeconomic and political injustices are on the rise every day, people who believe in fighting for themselves and others are also on the increase every day. The global and national markets of activism as huge as the number of various socioeconomic and political problems, including the needs of people and communities.

In schools, communities, workplaces among other places, there are a number of people who are fighting for one cause or the other. In schools, students usually have political activism as a means of getting what they wanted from the authorities. We have seen how students fought school authorities due to the inability to get certificates due to protests and other activities related to activism they involved in. Students also engage in social activism to advance social development on campuses. These activism categories also exist outside the school environment.

However, winning the cause is not an every day thing. There are situations where socioeconomic and political activists did not win. In such situations, many things crept in. In our conversation with mental healthcare professionals and advocates, many activists usually have one form of mental illness or the other without knowing.

Since political and social activists experience violence, interpersonal conflicts, use of social media frequently and having lower resilience and social support, it is advisable that they check their mental health status. According to the mental health specialists and advocates who spoke with our analyst, activists in most cases have bipolar disorder, a mental health condition where a person’s mood swings from high and overactive to low and dull, without knowing.

As noted earlier, this condition occurs in times of sadness. For instance, when it is difficult to erase the unbearable sadness of not winning certain causes, many activists develop bipolar disorder. The symptoms aggravate when activists engage with the opposing parties on social media or people react to them angrily, our analysis of recent posts of some activists and people’s reactions reveals.

EndSARS, a recent protest is a typical example of cause, that could trigger bipolar disorder among the campaigners and activists. When the Lekki Killing incident was reported, some people reacted angrily on social media, blaming the participants. The trends of the counter and alternative narratives about the incident led to a spike in public interest in the protest and bipolar disorder between October 21 and October 31, 2020. This suggests a possible public interest in understanding the mental illness along with the personalities of the protest participants, most importantly the involved activists.

 

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