Dealing With Mental Health Issues In Nigeria

Nigeria has population of about 230million people, is indeed a blessing to the country and good market for local and foreign investors.

But, my beloved country has 80 million people at risk of mental health problems.

Unfortunately, there are less than 200 professionals, trained and empowered with certificates to deal with this social issue, all over our country.

Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, convener/chief executive officer of Asido Foundation, a non-governmental organization, dropped this hint on Thursday the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Yaba, Lagos.

Speaking during the launch of his book: Optimal Mental Health: An Everyday Guide, Abdulmalik said that the World Health Organisaton has stated that one in every four person is a victim at any point in their life.

According to him, across the world, 10 percent of the population is presently suffering from one form it.

In Nigeria, there is a wide gap between health workers and victims. He declared point-blank that statistics reveal that 80 percent of Nigerians do not have access to mental health treatments.

Truth is that there are inadequate trained, certificated mental health professionals. Therefore, some untrained persons could easily deceive victims with the ability to cure them.

Poverty level in our country is on the high side. Lots of people think there are unearned miracles in churches, mosque and traditional settings. This is not correct. We work for what we earn..

His words: “For instance in Akwa Ibom state, children, are labeled witches and witchcrafts and sent to churches or healing centers, where they are chained and flogged, daily in attempt to cure them of witches”.

He further explained that ignorance, shame, stigmatization, has led to people snubbing, or out-rightly abandoning mental health victims, instead of taking them to hospital for proper medical care.

The Asido scribe said that his non-government organization came to being in order to carry out advocacy, networking, awareness creation, and empowerment for members of the public on issues relating to it.

In his submission, Prof B. L Salako, director-general, Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, praised Abdulmalik for the writing a book on mental health and advised that the book, should be made available to all and sundry.

Prof T. L Sheikh, national president, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria called on the government to provide and enabling environment for more people to go into trainings in order to become professionally certified mental health workers, in order to reduce the wide gap, presently existing in that sector.

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