Ecobank Day: Stop the Discrimination Against Victims of Mental Health Disorder – Akinwuntan
Ecobank Nigeria has reiterated its commitment towards promoting mental awareness for its staff, customers and the communities where it operates being part of its corporate action to support general wellbeing amongst citizens . This, according to the bank, is necessary in view of the enormous stress people encounter while trying to play their part in sustaining the national economy. The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan while speaking at the 2021 “Ecobank Day” event in Lagos stated that there was need for people to exercise more sensitivity and be more supportive towards improving mental health.
According to him, “This year, we are focusing on how we can support one another to improve on our mental health. It is something we should be open to talk about; it is something that we should be able to share our concerns so that each of us can be sensitive to how we support one another and to manage the stress available in our environment. So, this year, we are focused on mental health, educating people on how to identify and manage the disease, while also helping reduce stigma and discrimination. We all know that Nigeria is a country with about 200 million people, and there is a lot of stress on all of us. At Ecobank, we encourage staff to speak out through word of mouth, written communication, WhatsApp, sms message, even if it is an anonymous call to support victims. We also try to identify things within the environment that could have a negative effect on our journey to better mental health, and quickly take them out”.
On her part, the Executive Director, Commercial Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Carol Oyedeji, urged colleagues to find a way to balance work with other aspects of their life. “Please when you close work, shut down your system and find ways to connect with your spouse, family and in any other thing that will give you joy and happiness”. She noted that we must encourage people to feel comfortable to talk about their emotions, without shame, fear of being judged or abuseD. She emphasized that anyone suffering or facing mental health problems should be aware that they can get help.
Experts at the event listed signs to watch out for in mental health to include; negative view of self, feeling alone, giving things away and frequent talks about death. They noted that mental health disorders are one of the most common Non-Communicable Diseases, noting that mental health issues can happen to anyone and it’s important to talk about it and also act on it.
Ecobank Day, is a Group’s flagship annual corporate and social responsibility event that ‘gives back’ to the local communities across the pan-African footprint. The 2021 Ecobank Day had the theme ‘Mental Health – Time to Talk and Act!’. It marks the final stage of Ecobank’s three-year campaign to raise awareness and help prevent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Ecobank Day which started in 2013, focusing each year on a specific theme. These have been Education for young people in Africa (2013); Malaria prevention and control (2014); Every African child deserves a better future (2015); ICT education in schools and improving maternal health (2016); Safe water management (2017); Orphanages (2018); Cancer (2019); and Diabetes (2020).