The pan African bank, Ecobank Nigeria on Saturday October 23rd, 2021 held its Ecobank Day which ran across 33 African countries where it operates.
For those who don’t know, Ecobank Day is the group’s flagship annual corporate and social responsibility event that gives back to the local communities across the pan-African footprint.
However, this year’s event focused on creating awareness on how to check mental health issues and stop the discrimination against victims of mental health.
Be that as it may, the Bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, speaking at the 2021 Ecobank Day event in Lagos, said; “There is a need for people to exercise more sensitivity and be more supportive towards improving mental health.”
“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 talking 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.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Commercial Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, Carol Oyedeji, urged colleagues to find a way to balance work with other aspects of their life.
She said; “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”.
“We must encourage people to feel comfortable to talk about their emotions, without shame, fear of being judged or abuse. Anyone suffering or facing mental health problems should be aware that they can get help.”
However, 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.
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 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).