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Growing insecurity, forced displacement affect mental health of Nigerians, say experts

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
29 November 2022   |   4:56 am
Mental health experts have said that growing insecurity, and forced displacement, among other challenges in the country, are capable of increasing mental health issues in the country.

[FILES] Mental Health

Mental health experts have said that growing insecurity, and forced displacement, among other challenges in the country, are capable of increasing mental health issues in the country.

National President, of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), Taiwo Obindo, who stated this, in Enugu, during the 53rd yearly general meeting of the body, urged the Federal Government to find ways of curbing challenges inflicting pain on the people.

He noted that the national development of any nation depends largely on the well-being of its citizens, stressing: “There is no health without mental health.”

Speaking on the theme, ‘Insecurity and Forced Displacement: Mental Health and Psychological Implications,’ Obindo lamented that Nigeria is currently witnessing all manner of insecurity and social vices. He stressed that these are impacting negatively on the mental health of Nigerians, and, in turn, constitute a serious threat to national development.

He said: “Our nation is grappling with many challenges at this stage of its national development with insecurity topping the list. The country is currently witnessing record levels of kidnappings, banditry, armed robbery, terrorism, ritual killings, secessionism and many more, which are impacting negatively the mental health of citizens. These have forced many Nigerians to flee their homes to become internally displaced with its attendant challenges.”

“Families have been forced out of their ancestral homes, and found themselves in a new environment with little or no means of livelihood, and the hope of returning to their homes is increasingly becoming a mirage.

“The state of their mental well-being is daily threatened, and the needed psychological support only comes in trickles. These have effects on the mental stability of those concerned and, therefore, should be checked.”

On his part, the Medical Director, of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Prof. Monday Igwe, insisted that there is a need to address current security challenges, considering the mental health of the people.

He said: “The mental health implications are quite apt and relevant in present-day Nigeria. Nothing else should bother us at this time. This is so because a healthy country impacts productivity and growth, as well as the way we things.”

Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Ikechukwu Obi, described health as a continuous state of human adjustment, saying there is a need for constant mental health check-ups, and urged Nigerians to always make themselves available for examination by health experts.