Psychiatrist Calls for Inclusion of Mental Health in School Curriculum

Funmi Ogundare

The Adolescent Chief Consultant at Yaba Psychiatrist Hospital, Dr. Mashudat Bello-Mojeed, has called for more conversations on mental health issues and the integration of these topics into school curriculums.

She made this appeal at the third annual youth jamboree organised by the Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON) Lagos chapter, themed, ‘Mental Health Issues, Causes, and Implications on Students’ Academic Performance’.

Bello-Mojeed emphasised the necessity of addressing mental health issues, pointing out that many people suffer in silence due to the stigma associated with these problems.

She stated, “Mental health problems can affect anyone. They do not discriminate, yet people are not discussing them, causing youths to suffer in silence.”

She noted that studies show 45 per cent of teenagers experience some form of mental health issue, with numbers increasing as they age. Beyond statistics, she stressed the importance of well-being at home and in the community.

The psychiatrist urged students to approach their academics with a positive mindset, believe in themselves, and break the silence surrounding mental health issues.

Johnson Sotomi, Chairman of APROCON, highlighted research indicating the prevalence of mental health issues among students and their negative impact on academic performance. He stressed that good mental health is crucial for students to be productive and motivated in their academic pursuits.

“Stable mental health helps students think, feel, and act effectively, handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy decisions. It also helps prevent bullying and provides coping strategies for both bullies and their victims,” Sotomi said.

Prof. Mopelola Omoegun, the initiator of the Youth Jamboree in Lagos State, emphasised the need for students to maximise their potential by putting more effort into their activities and seeking help from counsellors when necessary for career guidance.

Dr. Hakeem Shittu, Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), commended APROCON for their commitment to youth mental health and well-being. He noted that the theme of the jamboree is both timely and essential, as mental health is a cornerstone of a thriving society and crucial to academic performance. Represented by the permanent board member, Co-curricular, Hon. Jamiu Adewale, Shittu said, “In today’s rapidly evolving world, our youth face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. As they navigate this complex landscape, their mental health must be a priority.”

He stressed the collective responsibility of all to support and provide resources for youth, addressing the root causes of stress and anxiety to create an environment that promotes mental well-being and academic success.

He said, “Mental health profoundly impacts academic performance. Students struggling with mental health issues may find it difficult to concentrate, retain information, or engage fully in their studies, leading to a cycle of frustration and underachievement that exacerbates their mental health problems. Breaking this cycle requires a holistic approach that integrates mental health support into our educational systems.”

Related Articles