By Mohamed Omer Maigag
The Arab’s say ‘ Al-aql-alsalim fi jism al-salim’. The Sound mind is in the sound body. I say ‘ the sound body is in the sound mind’. Without control of our minds there is nothing sound about us and our bodies. No matter how fit and strong you are physically, if you are mentally unstable you are vulnerable and at great risk of harming yourself and harming others specially those close to you. Andreas Lubitz, the German co-pilot of flight 4U 9525 who locked himself in the cockpit plunging the plane he was flying on a mountain in the French Alps on Tuesday killing 149 people and himself is proof for what I’m talking about.
From what I have read in the press Mr Lubitz was fit as a horse but had serious mental health illnesses. This story highlighted to the world the significance of mental health illnesses. All kinds of questions are being asked such as ” why did he take all these lives with him if he wanted to commit suicide” Why did he hide his health condition from his employers”.”
Why did he lock out the captain from the cockpit”. “Why……” I’m not making any excuse for the unimaginable terror this guy caused killing all these innocent people, but these questions were probably the last thing in his mind if he had any mind left when he decided to crash the plane and kill all the people on board including himself.
I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist but all sorts of social, emotional and economical problem can trigger mental health illnesses according to what I have read and according to my experience of working in the community for many years. So many things can drive us over the edge. The trick lies in mastering how to cope with all the unpleasant incidents, feelings and emotions life throws at us before they develop to stress and depression.
People of Somali origin are not good at identifying the signs of mental health illness. In fact mental health illnesses are taboo and so many stigmas are attached to them. When I was young in Somaliland, I remember seeing people with mental health illnesses being stoned by young people just because of these health conditions without any protection from the rest of the community. I hope this ignorant practice stopped.
Don’t pay attention to this backward thinking. If you or any one in your family suffer from mental health illness, seek urgent medical attention before it is too late. Appearances are deceptive. Don’t assume all the people you see around you are alright. They may have sound body, but their mind may not be as sound as you may think.
Andreas Lubitz once told his girlfriend that he will do something that will make the whole world know his name one day. The price for that name was to claim the lives of 149 innocent people. What a price for a name from a very mentally disturbed man.