Effects of COVID_19 on human mental health

The world has become so much more aware of the existence of a “far greater” threat_COVID-19, which has awakened both our curiosity and awareness, not leaving out it’s devastating effect which kills more and that’s fear. The World Health Organization including other intergrated and non-intergrated health organizations are on a rise to contain and combat this deadly virus. As a measure to create this constant awareness on the existence and prevention of this virus, many content have been developed and dissemanted on various traditional as well as social media outlets.

Online didactic poster on the symptoms of COVID_19

While the constant washing and sanitization of hands, the wearing of mask and the all important social distancing theory have been on a constant and widespread practise, this seems to be mostly what the world is preoccupied largely with! Nonetheless, only begining in the last quarter of the year 2019, its effects are far-reaching.

The Effects

  1. Stress
    There are several factors that causes the expirience of stress to be inevitable during these times. Sudden loss of jobs, unwanted idleness, the idea of social distancing and lots more. According to the US National Library for Medicine, Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.

    Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
    With this in mind, there are lots of people are covid_19 negative yet are affected by the existence of the said virus.

    2. Depression
    While it seems as a more frequent and an already known topic, the constant expiriencing of stress might lead to depression. Right now the world is facing a possible threat of global depression!

    There’s a far greater possibility of a greater amount of persons being affected with this virus Called depression. Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

    3. Anxiety Disorder
    Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Nonetheless, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense and persistent worries and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).

There are quite many other effects on mental health, but these are most dominant.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

A positive attitude in face of a negative external reaction, will automatically build up a defence mechanism to ward off any negative reactions in the human body.

While these precautionary motives are very important, we should not leave out the aspect of adopting a positive attitude.

How then do we maintain positive mental health?

Though there might be no generally accepted way to maintain positive mental health because people are different and will tend to react differently to certain changes, here are a common few steps in acheiving this. Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

  • Connecting with others
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills
  • Avoid misleading information

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN…

Please read through these lines…there is a power of positive relationship that will be awakened in you.

Ayansola Ibukun

Such a flaw in human nature
Never to value what we have until we lose it.
The cares and love of real ones to neglect
And desperately seek to please the one who cares less.

“They’ll always be there” so he takes them for granted,
Until they call his bluff and live him deserted.
Gold in the hands of the undiscerning is a travesty
Pearls also should never be cast among swine.

He trades off his kin at his season of plenty,
Never to be regained in his period of paucity.
Such a sturdy cord it is that binds folk together
But then it snaps when it suffers the strains of mistreatment.

The river that forgets its source becomes history.
Love is not a caged bird…endearing yet unfettered.
Much is expected from whom much is given
So don’t lose the moon while counting the stars.

Time…attention…care…gratitude…empathy…
Nothing fans the flame…

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COMBATING EARLY MARRIAGE IN CAMEROON

Early marriage which is defined as a union, formal or informal, entered into by a child or youth under a certain age, typically aged eighteen, has been one of the leading cause of underdevelopment in most African countries, given rise to high levels of illiteracy especially among the girl child, unprecedented increase in death toll and a threat to the health of either parties. Despite the negative effect it has on the African continent and the world at large, little progress has been made towards ending the practice of child marriage. In fact, the problem threatens to increase with the expanding youth population in developing world as projected figures from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) show that, between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides. Seen as a prime violation to human rights, international bodies, integrated and non-integrated organisations are waging a war against this societal ill which has plagued the African community; a line which goes in accordance with the words of Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA when he said, “Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects.” The quest to combat early child marriage especially in Sub-Saharan African countries has been on and it still beckons answers. Cameroon as one of the Sub-Saharan countries officially recognized as the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in central Africa, bordered by Nigeria to the west and by Chad Republic in the northeast, with a total population of about 26,138,966 people according to the recent census of the United Nations, with the males making up a total of 50.01% and the females making up 49.99% of the total population. 31% of girls in Cameroon are married before the age of 18, while 10% are married before the age of 15, with high occurrence in the two states of Adamawa and Extreme Nord. Despite the many measures put in place to silence this malpractice, there are a number of predisposing factors that makes the ending of child marriage in Cameroon, a task as difficult as “getting blood from a stone.”

What are the causes of early marriages?

  1. Gender Inequality: Generally, child marriage is driven by the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys and can only have a complete identity when they get married.
  2. Poverty: As archaic as it may sound, some regions of Cameroon still practice child marriage on the basis of poverty. girls under 18 from poor households in Cameroon are more likely to get married five times more than girls from the richest homes.While it is a customary belief to receive “bride price”of a lady when getting married, in the case of an early marriage, it can be seen as some form of payment or re-compensation.
  3. Limited awareness: A 2015 study shows that many girls are unaware of the harmful consequences of child marriage, and instead know more about the traditional and religious norms that makes it legal.
  4. Traditional and Religious norms: While poverty was mentioned as a factor driving child marriage in the Extreme North according to a research conducted by the Institut Supérieur du Sahel at the University of Maroua (Cameroon), in partnership with Association de Lutte Contre Les Violences Faites Aux Femmes (ALVF-EN), supported by IWHC, traditional and cultural norms were mentioned as the key driver (41% of respondents). The rationale for this is because, marriage is seen as a girl’s life purpose. A young single woman is perceived negatively.
  5. In many communities in the Adamawa Region (the North and the Extreme North of Cameroon), marriage honours the whole family. In Muslim families, the daughter’s marriage is often organized by the parents, who buy gifts and supplies for the bride’s new family. According to Fulani cultural practice, the family must prove that the girl is a virgin on the wedding day. If that is the case, the in-laws provide more gifts. With all these boundaries, rules and cut out life for the girl child, the close of early marraige seem to be a far-fetched reality.
Image result for early marriages in cameroon
The smile on their faces reveals their inability to decipher what is wrong from right….The hazards of early marriages….

while there maybe a thousand and one reasons that promote the growth and rapid spread of this unwanted practice, there are several ways to combat this societal ill which had eaten deep within the fabrics of the Cameroonian society. no matter how widely spread this practice still hovers within the far north region of Cameroon, the question still remains:

How to combat this practice in Cameroon??

There has to be a melange of various strategies to successfully erradicate the practice of early marriage over time. Consistency and a “holistic” approach are the top ingredients needed to make this come true.

Increase the girl Child’s access to education, as well as a comprehensive sexuality education
Young girls, especially those living in poverty and whom are most at risk of early and forced marriage, should have better and easy access to education. The government should improve educational equity so that young Cameroonian girls can enroll and stay in school, by offering free primary and secondary education or by providing academic scholarships. Other measures should be taken by the state to sensitize parents to invest in their daughters’ education. In addition, school curricula should raise awareness on the current laws on marriage, as well as the dangers of the practice. Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) that includes lessons on gender equality, power in sexual relations, and sexual and reproductive health and rights should be introduced at thw foundational level for the Girl child to be mentally equip to resist any form of abuse. To prevent early and forced marriage, the Cameroonian school system should revise school curricula to include CSE, develop teacher training and support, and organize educational talks on these issues in schools and communities.

Create a national monitoring service against early and forced marriage
A national monitoring service that monitors and regulates early child marriage should be set up both in the risk areas of the Republic of Cameroon as well ad other areas which are less at risk to prevent rapid spread. It should specialize in children’s and girls’ rights, and to track early and forced marriage would be key to develop a better understanding of the practice and the effectiveness of prevention initiatives. The objective would be to collect reliable information on early and forced marriage to disseminate to those working in the field, policy makers, community leaders, teachers, the media, and other key stakeholders.

Establish a platform for agencies and organizations fighting the practice
Very few government agencies or nongovernmental organizations are currently undertaking initiatives to end early and forced marriage. The government has not committed to develop civil servants’ capacity to prevent the practice, which hinders progress. The lack of synergy between civil society organizations concerned with the issue makes strategizing difficult. Pooling skills and expertise, developing a coalition of stakeholders, and encouraging strong governmental responses are key to effectively addressing the practice.

Today, Cameroon became the 16th country to launch the African Union campaign to end child marriage in Africa, ramping up its efforts to end a practice that affects 38% of girls in the country. The government were joined by UNFPA, UNICEF, Canadian High Commission, National Human Rights Commission, and other civil society organisations at the launch. The Minister for Women’s Development and the Family joined over 100 local girls in singing in a choir to celebrate the African Union campaign to end child marriage. This is thanks to organisations like Girls Not Bride in Cameroon who wage an endless fight against Early marriage.

Over 100 local girls sing ‘We Are Girls, Not Brides’ anthem alongside the Minister for Women’s Development and the Family at the AU Campaign launch to End Child Marriage today in Cameroon. Photo credit: Justina Kwachu

Media Awareness

Not forgetting the all-powerful effect the media has on its users, it plays a huge role in the dissemination of information and altering behaviour. A national campaign, including mass media such as radio and television programs and commercials, as well as outreach to community, religious, and traditional leaders, should be organized. This study clearly demonstrates that early and forced marriage is a destructive and pervasive practice driven in part by a lack of information and awareness. And as such both public amd private media organ should be fully involved in the process of eradicating early marriage in the country Cameroon.

Enterpreneurial Forums and Performance Appraisal of “the girl child”:

Dating back to the prime causes of early marriages in Cameroon, poverty and gender inequality stands at the helm. “The girl child” by African tradition has been branded as the most vulnerable of the sexes and a gender of no identity if not attached to the man. These dogma as I would call, has left a message of worthlessness and less self confidence in the sub_concious of “the girl child”. Reasons being that most of the girls who are not exposed to a sensitized and educated environment, with a social status which is most convenient, always feel their ultimate destination is marriage; a common thought amongst poor Cameroonian girls.

Move on!!!!!

“Moving on” is a phrase used by so many people; in failed relationships, when we encounter disappointments, wanting to let go bad habits or anything that steals our joy.

There are lots of things that we hold unto so strong and sometimes we do not have the courage to let go…

One thing with holding onto the wrong things in life, is that you gain nothing out of it…..you simply waste time and you become stagnant.

The more you hold unto the hurts, you will never want to move out of the hurts. You will be there until you decide to let go and move on…..Move ahead.

Moving on makes you realize there are certain journeys in life you alone can cover….

It helps you discover that you need to maybe love yourself a little more than you do now.

Moving on means things that hurt you before no longer do…

Mistakes of yesterday do not control your future…

Moving on os accepting a second chanc life has given you, to right your wrongs

So what are you waiting for???

Move on from that pain

Distress

Grieve

Anger.poor relationship

Hurt

And move into happiness

Satisfaction

Joy

Peace

And love….

A Letter To My Younger Self🌸🌸

Dear younger me,
You were so brave, full of life and had a sixth sense to see the good in all that happened.  You could cry, but only for a moment. You never knew how, but you always believed that everything is going to be okay!
Your courage and determination could be seen in your smiles everyday. Every single day was cherished. And if there was anything you ever believed in so strongly was yourself, which you did all the time.
While sleeping, you let your worries slip through you. And slept with such comfort that, even the midnight angels wondered on your courage.
You had no broad idea about life, yet you had to key to suceed in life. You saw everything as been possible, acheivable.  You doubted less, cried for a moment and next, giggled it out.
You could ignore anything that didn’t suit the mood you wanted to be in. You dreamt all the dreams you carried inside of you. You envisaged what you wanted to become when you get older. You saw it so clear, that it wasn’t blurred with fear, insecurity and doubt. You never knew how, but you believed it will come to pass.
You carried yourself with so much trust and confidence in those you loved. Till the point where, you never worried yourself if they will be able to provide for you. All you knew inside of you was, “My food’s gonna be on the table soon”, “I’m starting school soon”… You knew things come to those who believed.
You knew you wanted to become great! And you had so much faith in yourself that you will. You focused on what you wanted and not what you thought wasn’t going to be what you wanted.

Now, years have creeped in, and I’m lot older. There are facets about you that I miss. I thought my growth was applied to all levels. But that isn’t the case. I fear more, more sensitive to failure than I am to sucess.  I am so drained in my fear of failure that I have loosed my focus on life’s beauty. I smile, but at same time, I think on my problems. I have grown. As I had always wished to. But I realise there are phases in my life that needs the younger me. So I guess, my lessons are not ended. My point of referral is not on outsource references. I will refer to you and learn the most of which I couldn’t.
Hope to learn from you soon. As you walk in the shadows of my past, I’ll get a right to take steps back, to aim for a great leap into my future.
With much love❤❤❤

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We move on in life. But there are times we need a stop, and a rethink. We might be suprised, that the best teacher in your life, is you. There’s no other person who knows you better than you.

Your Attitude will Determine your Altitude…

Here’s a little “morningvation” for us all. The attitude start with in the morning, determines how our day will be. That’s the power of a positive mindframe. The attitude we potray faced with adversity will determine how high we will overcome that problem.

Truth is, life’s good. But that doesn’t mean because life’s good…..there’s the absence of problem. Relatively…I think problems give a certain beauty to life. They’re unexpected, and usually takes us unawares, helping us to realise and discover our internalized talents and strength to resist.

We will never know what we don’t expirience

How do you react?? I get sometimes defeated way before the war is waged. But no one defeated me but myself. That attitude resulted to how far I could think of going. We are limitless. You can achieve what you want to. But it takes a push…..not just little but harder to realize how greatly endowed you are. And that’s keeping the right attitude in the midst of the storm.

It’s actually more difficult to do than it sounds but it’s not impossible. What stands between us and our goals is fear…. I tell u, this word is able to hold you hostage for years asking questions when you would have accomplished what you wanted.

But we shouldn’t forget that fear is part of our emotions. It eminates from us and so we have the power to subdue it. And you have that power.

Don’t give up because if you do, you are actually giving up on yourself.

Always remember to score a high jump….you need to gather your momentum and propell yourself beyond what you think are your limits.

What they want…..

Yielding to the decisions set by people who hold a certain level of authority over youths and children, has always been the order of the day in most developing countries. Youths and children have always been caught in such delimma, caught in between the web of confusion, deciding on which dream to realise, theirs or what others want….But more often than not, it has always been what they want, suppressing and neglecting children’s desires and dreams. 

The social environment in which children/youths often live in, characterised by so much fear and insecurity, transforms them into less performant beings, afraid of showing up who they are. The fear of not being integrated in to a certain social environment all amounts to the fact that, they are not loved,not heard, not cherished, rather, asked to do what others want them to do.

 International organisations like the United Nations Organization stand out, giving a platform to children to express, serving as a refuge to every child who has been marginalized and side lined. 

However, in the midst of such uncertain present, great leaders are born. Children who will represent the future world we all seek. Those who will usher us into the changed world we all need….

Children and youths constitute the back born of every society.  And am proud of being one….

The Mother Eagle Lesson

Often at times we’re afraid of letting our dreams out of the mental cage of fear. Will people accept what I have? Will they appreciate what I have? Will they find my skills extraordinary? Do I have the courage? Can I do it?

Courage is only for the brave. And the bravest of people aren’t people of great physical strength but of mental strength. I was greatly inspired by a documentary I watched today about the mother eagle and her eaglets. Eagles normally build their nests in tall trees or on high cliffs.  After the eaglet gets to a certain maturity, mother eaglet comes back, but this time around, she doesn’t return with food on her beak as she always does. Rather, she hovers over the nest, as she remains almost motionless in mid air with her wings.

I wondered why she did that? Why didn’t she bring food for her eaglets? Why is she hovering over them? It made no sense…… I thought to myself….

Thereafter, she flies down with such great speed and pushes the eaglet out of the nest!…. Why?? …..why did she do that? We’d say she’s wicked! Today i was inspired by the mother eagle….she has something most of us haven’t nurtured. She’s courageous and brave in taking risk. She sees nothing as a limitation. She proves to her eaglets that if she can, they can, age and size is no limitation.

Sometimes all we need in life is a little push…..for us to break free from the chains of fear and soar just like the eagle. She chooses to maximise her desire to fly and mininse the fear of falling…. And so should we.