To raise awareness on mental health concerns in Nigeria, the Methodist Church Nigeria and the Amaudo Integrated Mental Health Foundation, along with the Abia State Government, the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Enugu, and Amaudo UK, have collaborated to arrange a workshop for media practitioners across the South East. The workshop was attended by media professionals from Abia and Imo states and aimed to educate them on fundamental mental health concerns and their part in raising awareness for effective and human rights-based mental health services in the nation.
The purpose of the conference was to highlight to Nigerian media organisations how they might help change the country’s stigmatising social, cultural, and religious views on mental health. In addition, it was deployed in the campaign against prejudice and bias against people with mental disabilities. Participants praised the event’s organisers for holding such an informative seminar at a time when many Nigerians are experiencing economic hardship due to anti-people policies that have the potential to create mental problems among the public.
Economic condition of the country can trigger mental illness.
Prof. Monday Igwe, the Managing Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatrist Hospital in Enugu, represented by Dr. Okwudili Obayi, delivering the keynote speech, stressed that every individual has, at some point or another, been confronted with mental stress, that, if it isn’t handled properly, may grow into bigger issues. He continued to say that the country’s precarious economic situation and general state of insecurity were likely contributing factors to the growing number of cases of mental illness.
In addition to this, he encouraged those working in the media to make use of their profession in order to protect the rights of those suffering from mental challenges. He stated that one person somewhere in the world dies every forty seconds, owning to suicide. Tobacco usage, alcoholism, cocaine use, caffeine abuse, tramadol misuse, and “mkpuru mmiri” were among other causes that he cited as contributing to the mental health issues that are prevalent in the population.
64 mentally challenged people are being rehabilitated at the Amaudo centre.
On his path, Rev. Kenneth Nwaubani, the Amaudo Integrated Community Health Foundation Director, during his remark at the seminar, stated that 64 mentally challenged people are being rehabilitated at the Amaudo centre at the moment, with the majority of them soon to be discharged to go home to their families. He utilised the occasion to denounce the poor treatment of those with mental conditions in Nigerian culture, asserting that many of these individuals have been subjected to sexual abuse, physical assault, extortion, and stigma due to their impairments.
Moreover, Reverend Nwaubani further revealed that there were no fees associated with any of the services that were provided for people at the facility. In light of this, he made a plea to the government of Abia State, corporate organisations, and other concerned individuals to aid the foundation by the construction of good roads, providing electricity as well as funds because the cost of purchasing groceries and drugs for those receiving treatment continues to rise every day.
Primary healthcare facilities should be equipped adequately.
To alleviate the labour shortage in the mental health industry, they demanded at the workshop that the government make mental health and associated fields more appealing. In addition, they asked for incentives for medical professionals and media, as well as additional funding to address issues. Participants also advocated for primary healthcare facilities to be equipped to handle instances involving mental health and for all levels of government to provide sufficient resources to this area of healthcare.