Why Nigeria must prioritize mental health for all — Expert

A psychiatrist, Dr Olatunde Ayinde, says Nigeria must make mental health for all a priority as mental health problems are very common and at least one in seven Nigerians are said to end up suffering from a mental health problem. mental health throughout his life.

Dr Ayinde, who spoke at the 2022 Global Mental Health Symposium organized by the Oyo State Primary Health Care Board in partnership with the Asido Foundation and the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, said that mental health problems are everywhere in Nigeria and more common in vulnerable groups like abused women and the unemployed.

He said mental health issues are diseases of the brain and have a broad dimension, even though many people assume that only people wandering the streets, unkempt and wearing torn clothes, suffer from mental illnesses.

According to him, despite the high burden of mental health problems, their treatment is hampered by many reasons, including low concentration of health care workers, poor government mental health policies, people’s misperceptions about the problems. mental health, poverty, human rights abuses. , stigma and discrimination.

Dr Ayinde added, “So up to 80% of mentally ill people in Nigeria do not receive any treatment for 12 months because of all this.”

To reverse the trend, he said there was a need to strengthen advocacy for mental health services, more support for mental health services by all stakeholders, stem the brain drain in the health and revise Nigeria’s outdated mental health policy as well as the integration of mental health into primary health services.

Dr Toyosi Ogunfowora, head of psychiatry at Adeoyo Specialist Hospital, Ring road, said women’s mental health must be a priority as mental illnesses like eating disorders and depression are more common among them .

She added: “Some women have mental health and have symptoms such as chest pain due to depression. When you become cranky or irritable, reduce your stress by prioritizing yourself, doing things that will support your work and outsource what you can to relax.

In her remarks, the President of MWAN, Oyo State Chapter, Dr. Oyindamola Adeyemi said that it is important to focus on women’s mental health as household managers are more likely to stress in due to the pressures of life and as such they should prioritize their mental health.

The Executive Secretary of the Oyo State Primary Health Care Council, Dr Muideen Olatunji, said that mental health was a neglected component of primary health care services and should be of concern to the community due to Nigeria’s economic downturn and the use of intoxicants that have negative effects on people’s health.

Comments are closed.