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Over 50 million Nigerians mentally ill

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By Akintola Timothy

Underinvestment in mental health sector, a major healthcare problem.

Psychiatrists, on World Mental Health Day, raised their concerns in regard to the mental health state of many Nigerians, stating that 1 in every 4 Nigerians which is 50 million of the country’s population suffer from a form of mental disorder. They also raised an alarm over the fact that about 75% of all those that need mental healthcare do not have any basic access to it as a result of Nigeria’s low availability of psychiatrists which is about 300 to treat a population of 200 million. Statistically, this means 1 psychiatrist for every 500,000 patients, hundred times lower than the recommendation of the World Health Organization.

With the World Mental Health Day marked globally on October 10 with the aim of sensitizing people on the subject of mental health, as well as mobilizing global efforts to support people going through neonatal health problems. The World Health Organization, since 2013 have organized campaigns for World Mental Health Day, this year’s theme being “Make Mental Health for All Global Priority.” on the importance of prioritizing mental health. Psychiatrists noted that around 11 per 100,000 people die of suicide every year in Africa which is higher than the global average of 9 per 100,000 persons. However, suggestions were made on measures for curbing this suicide and mental health problems in Africa.

1 of every 4 people in Nigeria possesses a mental health condition.

Medical Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye in Yaba, Lagos State attested to studies indicating that one of every four individuals possessed one diagnosable mental health condition or another, totally about 25% of Nigeria’s population. He stated that this issue was a common one, noting that we must shy away from the perception that only people displaying signs (walking around naked, mood swings ect.) possess mental problems. He further stated that mental issues ranged from minor to major conditions and while minor issues are stress related conditions or acute stress like anxiety and phobias, major conditions are constituted by cases of effective disorders, depressions or schizophrenia which all need immediate attention.

Dr. Olugbenga, on the challenges of mental healthcare in Nigeria, stated that 75% of the people in need of mental healthcare services are very limited or no access at all, and those who do fail to get qualitative mental healthcare services. All these due to inadequate manpower in the health sector. He complained about even the lower number of clinical psychiatrists, social workers and occupational therapists, saying that even at these low numbers, these groups of professionals are still relocating to other countries for greener pastures. He also lamented about the inadequate infrastructure, noting that the country has only 9 federally financed psychiatric hospitals. The psychiatrist said there was a need for more infrastructures within all states in Nigeria, considering how common mental health problems are.

Knowledge gap, a factor for inaccessibility to mental healthcare services.

The President of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, Dr. Taiwo Obindo, who was also the Chairman, Faculty of Psychiatry, West African College of Physicians stated that mental healthcare in Nigeria was in a dilapidated condition, with only about 10 percent of the total number of mental health patients being able to access healthcare. He noted knowledge gaps as a factor for this. Also, on the factors affecting the management of mental health crisis in Nigeria, Dr. Taiwo indicated that myths, traditional beliefs, lack of facilities and professionals were major reasons. On improving the mental healthcare situation in Nigeria, Dr. Femi Olugbile, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Former Medical Director, LASUTH stated that primary healthcare facilities should be activated to recognize and treat mental health issues, with improved technology.

A consultant psychiatrist at the University of Port-Harcourt attributed the challenge of accessing mental healthcare to stigmatization. Oye Gureje, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan also noted that formal and informal caregivers possess one of the most intensified jobs which tax them financially, mentally and physically and as such, must also be cared for to avoid more cases of mental illness. The Jehovah Witness, a popular Christian denomination also disclosed their plan to be involved in the global prioritization of mental health. Olusegun Eroyemi, the church’s spokesperson stated that there was an evident lack of awareness on the subject of mental health which people attribute to different factors that worsens the situation. He said that while mental health can be managed, caring for the caregivers was also a priority.

WHO begins campaign for sensitization of suicide prevention in Africa.

Recommendations were made by WHO on measures for the reversal of suicide and mental health crisis in Africa, inaugurating a campaign to raise awareness on suicide prevention in Africa. In a statement, the health body noted that social media campaigns were aimed at reaching over 10 million people to raise immense sensitization and galvanize the government to increase its focus and investment on mental health programs, including suicide prevention. WHO’s regional director in Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti attributed every suicide case as a major public health concern, stating that suicide prevention has rarely been prioritized in national health programs. WHO, noted that underinvestment in the mental health sector was one major challenge of adequate mental healthcare services in Africa, hereby urging that significant investments must be procured to fight mental health problems in Africa.


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jdpumping
jdpumping
1 year ago

Imagine the percentage of people that are I’ll,why won’t they be much when depression has set into the daily life’s of citizenry,the country is no longer favorable…

Abusi
Abusi
1 year ago

Well, Nigerians are really going through a lot. This is why our mental state is really taking a fall for what is going on in our country. We really all need to protect and improve our mental health.

DimOla
DimOla
1 year ago

The situations in Nigeria is so terrible that it can make someone to run mad. So many people are so frustrated that it is taking toes on people’s nerves, we should be expecting more mad people in the street.i

Haykaylyon26
Haykaylyon26
1 year ago

We need to improve our mental health sector our country is going through hard time that can be people go into depression. We all need to improve our country

Christiana
Christiana
1 year ago

Minor mental concerns include stress-related conditions like anxiety and phobias, while significant issues include effective disorders, depressions, and schizophrenia, which all need prompt attention.

Bola12
Bola12
1 year ago

One of the most significant obstacles to the provision of competent mental healthcare services in Africa was the inadequate investment in the mental health industry.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
1 year ago

The statistics should be over 70% of Nigeria,with the way people in government are treating ordinary citizens because all this bad experience happen because of the corruption and bad policy of the people in government.

theApr
theApr
1 year ago

About 75% of all those that need mental healthcare do not have any basic access to it as a result of Nigeria’s low availability of psychiatrists which is about 300 to treat a population of 200 million. Statistically, this means 1 psychiatrist for every 500,000 patients. This is not good enough, more attention needs to be given to this medical condition.

SarahDiv
SarahDiv
1 year ago

We have a government that is less concerned about health and education. Already we are experiencing brain drain in the healthcare sector and every other sectors in the country. Many Nigerians are tensed up with the happenings in the country which enough to make one mentally ill.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
1 year ago

All this issue of health and education can e fixed if we have governent that really care about human health. About 75% need mental healthcare. No access to availability of psychiatrists

Ultra0711
Ultra0711
1 year ago

People are really going through a lot in this country. The economy and poverty level alone is enough to make someone depress.

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
1 year ago

Already we are experiencing brain drain in the healthcare sector and every other sectors in the country. Many Nigerians are tensed up with the happenings in the country which enough to make one mentally ill.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
1 year ago

As a result of the limited number of psychiatrists in Nigeria, almost 75% of those who are in need of mental healthcare are unable to gain access to even the most fundamental forms of treatment.

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
1 year ago

The observance of World Mental Health Day on October 10 takes place all around the world with the objective of educating people about issues pertaining to mental health.

Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
1 year ago

This was a widespread concern, and it is important to dispel the idea that the only individuals who are affected are those who are holding signs.

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
1 year ago

One of the most significant obstacles to providing sufficient mental healthcare services in Africa was the low level of investment in the mental health industry, and this issue needs to be addressed.

Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
1 year ago

Because suicidal behavior and issues with mental health are so pervasive in Africa, some people offered their ideas for how the continent may better combat the problem.

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
1 year ago

that there was a clear absence of understanding on the topic of mental health, which people attribute to a variety of reasons that contribute to the deterioration of the situation.

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
1 year ago

The Nigerian people are definitely struggling through a lot of difficulties. Because of this, our mental health is truly deteriorating as a direct result of the events that are taking on in our country. Protecting and enhancing our mental health should be a top priority for all of us.

Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
1 year ago

There is evidence of a lack of understanding of mental health, which people ascribe to many reasons that worsen the problem.

Remi1
Remi1
1 year ago

mental issues ranged from minor to major conditions and while minor issues are stress related conditions or acute stress like anxiety and phobias, major conditions are constituted by cases of effective disorders, depressions or schizophrenia which all need immediate attention.