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Psychiatrist, others seek governments investment to tackle mental health challenges

By Abigail Ikhaghu
16 November 2021   |   3:01 am
Medical Director of Tranquil and Quest Behavioural Health, Lagos, Gbonjubola Abiri has called on Federal and State Governments to increase budgetary allocation to mental health emergencies
Mental health

[FILES] Mental health . PHOTO/Kiss 100

Medical Director of Tranquil and Quest Behavioural Health, Lagos, Gbonjubola Abiri has called on Federal and State Governments to increase budgetary allocation to mental health emergencies in order to address this growing challenge.

Abiri who among other professionals at the 2021 virtual mental wellness symposium organised by Corona Schools’ Trust Council recently, observed that many Nigerians with these health issues do not get the desired treatment and continue to experience stigma and discrimination.

Abiri, who is a Consultant Psychiatrist in her presentation at the symposium on the theme ‘Mental health in an Unequal World’, said lack of access to medical services remains a factor that has increased the unequal nature of Mental illness in the world.

She noted that about 75 to 95 percent of people with mental health disorders in low and middle-income countries like Nigeria are unable to access mental health services.

According to her, Nigeria at present has less than 250 psychiatrists for a population of over 200 million people.

She said the implication is having less than one psychiatrist to 200 million people, adding that as the expertise is declining the resources are dropping.

“World Health Organisation reports that one in four people at some point in their lives were affected by mental health condition. Statistics and data continue to show mental health issues are not given the attention it deserves”, she said.

The consultant psychiatrist further noted that with the rising rate of hunger, insecurity, and financial difficulties, mental health condition continues to rise among Nigerians, adding that the stigma people with mental health issues face affects their educational opportunities, job prospects and also their families.

She further called on all stakeholders to shine the light on mental health issues as a way to put an end to the inequalities prevalent among persons that have mental health disorders.

In her presentation titled: ‘Tips for ensuring a balanced and fulfilled lifestyle’, the Head of School, Corona School, Mrs Adetokunbo Matilukuro, said mental wellness is not just about taking care of oneself alone but extends to the benefit of people that you care about.

Matilukuro, who is also a Microsoft Certified Educator, Guidance and Counselor, said in order to achieve a balanced and fulfilling life, there is a need to create wellness programmes that would focus on promoting mental wellness, preventing mental health problems and providing treatment, as well as ensuring effective programmes that will promote the healthy social and emotional development of all.

Earlier, in her opening remarks, Chief Executive Officer, Corona Schools’ Trust Council, Mrs. Adeyoyin Adesina, called for the need to urgently address these inequalities to ensure that people enjoy good mental health.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic, the consequent lockdown and its ripple effects have further highlighted, not only the inequality in the economy and the health sector but the gross inadequacies therein, with the continued job and personal insecurity and with physical distancing that has led many to social isolation.

Adesina further said that the event was put together for the benefit of everyone, primarily in response to feedback received from the institutions’ maiden mental health programme two years ago, which focused on meeting children’s needs to prevent and/or manage depression and suicidal tendencies.

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