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‘How to curb mental ill-health in Nigeria’

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Stakeholders in the health sector have stressed the need to tackle poverty, joblessness and hardship being experienced by Nigerians, to bring mental health issues to an end.

At the Mental Health Action Committee and Stakeholders’ Workshop themed ‘Strategies to Revitalise Mental Health Service in Nigeria’ in Abuja yesterday, the chairman, Mental Health Action Committee, Federal Ministry of Health, Prof. Okoye Gureje, noted the need to tackle poverty and joblessness among Nigerians, as they have ways of affecting mental health.

He said: “We need to think in terms of promotion, prevention and then treatment. Let us talk about prevention, for example. We all know that some of the things happening in the country constitute very potent reasons for people to become psychologically sick.”

The director of Public Health, represented by the national coordinator, Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, said: “In Nigeria, an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of our population are believed to suffer from mental disorder, which is a very significant number.

“Considering the current economic situation in the country, the above statistics is damning, and in the light of the recent suicidal episodes recorded in parts of Lagos (which are obviously a tip of the iceberg), it forces a rethink in our general attitude to mental health and questions our current maintenance of the status quo.”


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