He is in the middle of the road. He struts majestically with many scurried glances thrown his way now and then. But he is oblivious to all. He wears his mangled hair with pride. He has no shirt and what to him is a pair of  trousers can at best be  described as a tattered loin cloth. He has in his hands a piece of paper which he imagines is a fourth generation computer. He holds a stick which he thinks is a magic wand with which he plans to turn all his enemies (who are many) to frogs. Children sing for him. The adults avoid him. His family has rejected him. They call him a madman.

[important]Twenty-five per cent of individuals develop one or more mental or behavioural disorders at some stage in life, in both developed and developing countries. That means 1 in 4 individuals at one time or the other develop mental disorders at one time in their lifetime![/important]

One of the mast fascinating and interesting posting for most medical students is psychiatry. For one, it is the only posting in my medical school where we did our ward rounds sitting down and given coffee or tea to drink. More fascinating for most however are the patients. For most of us, conversing with people with mental disorders is not something that can be verbally described. The experience ranges from simply rib-cracking hilarious, to painfully pitiful.

Sometimes in this environment,  people in the bid to tell someone they are not pushovers or to assert themselves will proclaim “… I dey craze o!”. As I write this piece, an obtrusive tune I hear all over the media and on the streets is running uninvited in my head. It is a very danceable tune and has caught on very well with many people. It is the song Kolomental. The song in a way captures that mindset of “…I dey craze o! Don’t mess with me”.

However mental disorders are certainly not desirable. The social stigma associated with them is pure evidence of this fact. A colleague of mind was once asked to choose between diabetes mellitus and mania. She soundly rejected  mania and instead chose diabetes notwithstanding all the complications that goes with diabetes. Her reason for chosing fiabetes? She believed no one will marry her if she has mania!

Be a change agent. Speak out against discrimination of mental disorders.

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