Religion and mental health: might the Singapore study explain the Nigerian situation?

Why do you sometimes leave the weighty matters to focus on matters on the fringes? I’ve been waiting to read your take on the trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Igboho, or the recent matter involving Supercop Abba Kyari but you have said nothing. Yesterday it was about the killer of TikTok star Anthony Barajas. Today you have gone to Singapore. Why?

How do you read what you see on this platform?

What’s that supposed to mean? I read what I see the same way I read what I find on other platforms. How am I supposed to read your stuff?

There is no special way, my friend apart from reading to think and thinking to read.

Reading to think and thinking to read? I hope you know that if I don’t understand what you are saying, communication is not taking place.

Not in every situation. What’s the message of the raindrops or the soft-breeze? Or are they not communicating?

Can we please stay with the subject?

Fantastic. I mean no offense, my friend. All I do when I write is helping my readers think more deeply about life’s issues

You got me there. Now you want your readers to wonder why Nigeria is not one big psychiatric hospital.

Mm. That’s what I call pinpoint accuracy. How did you know that’s the latest matter on my mind?

You mentioned the Singapore study on Mental Health (that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in March.) I know mental health has been on your radar since one of your favorite Olympians of all time, Simone Biles blamed mental health issues for her poor performance at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics Games. I’m also aware you added world number one tennis star to that list when you observed how he unraveled and lost out in his attempt to do what only the inimitable Steffi Graff, did many years ago by winning all four grand slams and adding the Olympics gold to boot. Like you, I thought, the anger issues had finally left the great man for good. God help us! Speaking of God, do you think Simone and Novak need more religion for their mental health issues?

Do you now see why it is not good to judge? You accused me of leaving Nigeria for Singapore, now you have left Nigeria for the United States and Serbia

My brother, it is what it is. Singapore may be first world and Nigeria, third world but on this matter, we are on the same plane. Just as the investigators found a correlation between religion and positive mental health, I believe the same situation almost automatically applies to Nigeria. Does any nation pray more than Nigerians in the entire world? Forget about the fact that it might mostly be a case of you worship me with your lips but your heart is far from me. The activity in itself, in which a petitioner, regardless of amount of time spent, unfurls his troubles on God, then reels out a list of wants, is cathartic. The whole exercise of sharing the burdens and pains, on a regular basis, can bring mental relief, regardless of the measure of relief. And doing this consistently opens the devotee to steady, incremental doses of relief. When you throw in other components that make up the religious architecture: frequent meetings characterized by warm atmosphere, camaraderie from shared experiences and the other intangibles, you would have put your finger on the spot as to why Nigeria is not a huge psychiatric asylum. Religion is a cocoon from what Fela Anikulapo Kuti called ‘Craze World.’ By the way, where else in the world have you heard the greeting, “It is well,” as you hear in Nigeria? There’s your answer. You can’t be wondering why the entire country is not one huge psychiatric ward, when its most popular slang is, “It is well.” By the way, who gave the world the joke, “Even in the well, it is well?”


God bless you.

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