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Stakeholders demand adequate support for people with mental disorder

By Joseph Okoghenun
16 December 2009   |   10:00 pm
  AS Nigeria battles with the ugly statistics of people with mental disorder, stakeholders have called for adequate support for them from both the government and members of the public.

They made the call recently in Lagos during the 13-year anniversary of Association of Friends of Psychiatric Hospital (AFPH), Yaba, Lagos, and the investiture of former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Olabode Vincent, as the grand patron of the association.

Studies have shown that Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world where the welfare of people with mental illness is not adequately cater for, or supported. Ninety per cent of those suffering from mental disorder in the country do not have access to treatment at all. The country is currently one of the few countries in the globe with no modern mental health policy and legislation to protect the rights of people with mental disorder. Discrimination and stigmatisation of those with mental disorder, mental health experts and mental health institutions by members of the public are some of the problems contending those with the disorder.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Adesola Taiwo, noted that people with mental disorder need the support of everyone in the society.

He said the need for adequate support for them cannot be over-emphasised as “anyone of us can fall ill mentally.” He said government could do more in mental healthcare funding than what it is currently doing.

President of AFPH, Sonny Oyekunle, noted that passion for help was needed on the part of an average Nigerian to support mental healthcare, while adding that one does not necessarily need to be a billionaire or wealthy before one can support the welfare of people with mental disorder. ” No matter what you have, you can give. And pray that such thing does not happen to you or to your family member. Then you will know the value of mental healthcare support,” he said.

While revealing that mental healthcare has improved in the country, Oyekunle said more is till needed to push it forward.

Taiwo said: “What we are saying is that the government should come to the aid of mentally ill individuals. We need more facilities just as we need old equipment to be upgraded so that mental healthcare can match what is done in abroad.

” I don’t believe that economic meltdown should affect the running of psychiatric hospitals in the country. We read everyday of how much money being voted to other sectors of the economy .The Federal Government can do the same thing in psychiatric hospitals.”