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Another Perception Of The Mentally Ill In Nigeria

Nigeria movie industry, Nollywood  has depicted over and over again scenes where someone believed to be evil confesses to a lot of heinous atrocities. Confessing to have killed people around him or her, or brought on misfortune to other people’s families, businesses or careers. Patience Ozokwor plays such roles convincingly well. Before the confession, the...

Nigeria

Nigeria movie industry, Nollywood  has depicted over and over again scenes where someone believed to be evil confesses to a lot of heinous atrocities. Confessing to have killed people around him or her, or brought on misfortune to other people’s families, businesses or careers.

Patience Ozokwor plays such roles convincingly well.

Before the confession, the person is portrayed to be at the verge of going mad, or sometimes become mad immediately afterwards. Or maybe the “confessor” had been plagued by unknown ailment that had defied all treatment.

Most have been deserted by friends and family for many possible reasons. At the height of their suffering,destitution or desolation, they “confess”. They admit responsiblity of every misfortune that had befallen the family,village.

Nigeria

After the “confession” people run even further away. Nollywood people make it even more dramatic as the “confessor” sometimes dies immediately after the confession.

The “confession” is what is known as “delusion of guilt” and it can be seen across different mental disorders such as; psychotic disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders,brief psychotic disorder,etc), Depression, Bipolar disorder,neurocognitive disorders (delirium, dementia).

Some other times, Nollywood depict people who report seeing ghosts or are being chased by it. People who hear voices of people, known and unknown.

I am African, it may be “unAfrican” to say that witches are not real. But Mental Disorders are even more real. And we see its effects everyday, everywhere. Unfortunately, we hardly recognize it for what it is. Instead we extol witchcraft and blame the underworld for what is a disease of the mind.

Demystify Mental Illness through awareness, knowledge and information.

 

Arua Ezinne Celine.

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