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Kidnap survivors need mental health aid beyond rescue, says expert

By Moyosore Salami, Ibadan
04 November 2022   |   2:47 am
A Psychotherapist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Olukolade Olugbemi, has urged the government to make kidnap victims’ care a priority to adopt preventive measures against abduction and strengthen protection

[FILES] Mental health

A Psychotherapist at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Olukolade Olugbemi, has urged the government to make kidnap victims’ care a priority to adopt preventive measures against abduction and strengthen protection measures for citizens at risk.

In a chat with The Guardian, Olugbemi said victims need specialised physical and mental health to enable them to reintegrate into their communities and overcome stigma.

“When people are kidnapped, it is not just taking them to hospitals to check their physical health, their mental health also needs to be taken care of. We don’t see them going through this trauma, that is why we don’t take it seriously,” he said.

He said some might react to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), while some may have feelings of fear, denial, suicide anxiety, depression, insomnia, difficulty in trusting people, as well as having nightmares and getting scared at the sound of sudden noises.

The clinical psychologist said when people have traumatic occurrences, it is advisable they ensure comprehensive medical check-ups and visit a psychotherapist to help them overcome and change the way they think about themselves, their lives and their future so as not to affect other areas of their life.

He, therefore, urged the government and relevant stakeholders to focus more on mental healthcare, saying that it would prevent mental illness and that their fundamental responsibilities in securing citizens’ lives and property must not be shirked.