Institute raises alarm over neglect of Nigerians’ mental health by govt

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The rising cases of mental illness being recorded in Nigeria has been attributed to poor attention from the government, harsh economic conditions in the country and negative societal beliefs about the problem.

The President of Nigerian American Institute For Mental Health, Dr Azubuike Aliche made this known during a press briefing in Umuahia on Wednesday.

He expressed concern that people exhibiting different forms of mental challenges in the country are most times stigmatized or maltreated, noting that such bad treatment worsen the situation, instead of solving the problem.

Aliche, who lamented that governments at all levels are not properly funding mental healthcare, regretted that most health interventions in Nigeria are concentrated on physical health, leaving out mental health.

He said there are only about 250 psychiatrists taking care of between 10 and 20 per cent of the Nigerian population suffering from mental challenges, adding that it was an eyesore seeing people with mental challenges roaming the streets unattended to.

“The infrastructure for mental healthcare is lacking. The government is doing little about it. Politicians don’t include mental health issues in their campaigns and actions,” he said.

Aliche, who is a licensed clinical social worker in the United States, said the Nigerian American Institute for Mental Health is set to change the terrible condition of mental health patients and the mental health sector in general.

He noted that access to mental health services such as drugs, treatments and counselling is very low in Nigeria but assured that the Institute would partner the neuropsychiatric hospital in Enugu and other relevant bodies to promote sound mental health in the country.

According to him, the Institute would involve people who are trained in community healthcare services, who will identify persons with mental issues before referring them to psychiatrists to handle.

Aliche, who said that the Nigerian American Institute for Mental Health is an offshoot of Nigerian Mental Health Practitioners, USA, observed that most Nigerians are afraid and ashamed to voluntarily go for mental diagnosis because of the stigma the Nigerian society attaches to it.





Source link: Daily Post

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