Did you hear of Nigeria’s Calabar viewing centre tragedy that occurred on April 20th, 2017? Reports say, the tragedy, resulted from a disjointed high tension cable that exploded and landed on the roof of a sport viewing centre, electrocuting some of the football lovers while leaving many wounded from varying degrees of burns.
When I heard about it, my first thoughts were:
Why was the viewing centre in such a deplorable state- made of zincs, old zincs?
Why are there no regulations with regards to locations and how sport viewing centres are built in Nigeria?
Sports has been a great source of relief for many, especially in the recent economic downtimes most Nigerians are facing, still, this incident is sad. So sad! How is it that, a gathering that brings hope, happiness and some relief became the undoing of its participants? I pray that the families of the deceased will be comforted and that those in the hospitals receiving treatments will recover quickly.
Reflecting on the possible lessons from this occurrence, I realised that the environment we create or choose matters a lot. It can contribute positively or negatively to our wellbeing. And for the mentally ill, it is important that we create the right environment for them to recover and strive.
So how does an environment affect a mentally ill person?
In my search for an answer, I came across, ‘Environmental Connections: A Deeper Look into Mental Illness’, an article by Charles W. Schmidt published in Environmental Health Perspective.
“Scientists have traditionally been challenged in their efforts to link mental illness with underlying causes, in part because the diseases are so amorphous, says Ezra Susser, a psychiatrist and department chair in epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Unlike cancer or heart diseases, which have clearly visible endpoints, mental disorders yield vague behaviors that vary widely among individuals. “They’re defined mainly by thoughts, behaviors, and feelings,” Susser says. “We don’t have biological measures on which to rest our diagnoses.”
I believe that, it is this amorphous nature of mental disorders that Dr. Ezra Susser talks about, is the reason why mental health stigma still exist. It is so difficult for many people to accept that mental illness can pose real dangers if left unattended to and that mental health should be given priority over the physical health.
If we give our mental health priority we will be mindful of the environment we create for ourselves. Everyone deserves an enabling and striving environment to grow, nurture stability and be successful.
For the mentally ill, the physical and mental environment plays a huge role in the recovery process because it can stimulate feelings that can result to habits, actions, and behavioural patterns.
My name is precious, I was Bipolar and I live a full life.

Prayer: Dear God, Help me to always identify and choose the right environment for my wellbeing – spirit, soul and body- in Jesus name, Amen.
Environmental Health Perspectives (ISSN-L 0091-6765) is a monthly peer-reviewed journal of research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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