By Simeon OSAJJIE
Medical Expert and Head, Department of Mental Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Ehigiator Adayonfo has said the socio- economic circumstances of Nigeria has caused and is causing a surge in mental health problems in the country.
Adayonfo made the assertion in a press briefing on the occasion of the 2023 World Mental Health Day organised by the Department of Mental Health UBTH with theme, “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right,” at Hospital Lounge, Benin City, Edo State capital.
He disclosed that at least 60 million Nigerians are suffering from one mental illness adding that we all need mental health, but the social economic circumstances of Nigeria has caused and is causing a surge in mental health problems.
“Fourteen point four percent (14.4%) representing 14.3 million Nigerians aged 15 to 64 years have a substance use disorder, and drug/substance abuse is today the number one cause of mental illnesses. Out of every 100,000 Nigerians, 17 die by suicide. This is much higher than the global prevalence of 11 persons and that of Africa which is 12 persons. Meanwhile there are about 250 psychiatrists practicing in Nigeria. How can this be right?
“We must advocate for improved access to mental health services. Mental health should be a priority in every healthcare system, and it is our responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind.
“We want to put mental health in its proper perspective as a human right and thereby drive home the stance that every functional person consciously or unconsciously strives for a sound mental health,” he said.
Going further, Dr. Ehigiator added: “The commemoration of World Mental Health Day by the Department of Mental Health is inspired by the external creative impulse radiated to us by our dynamic, pulsating, ebullient, vibrant, dutiful and most beautiful Vice Chancellor Prof. Lilian Salami.
“We decided to use today to beckon on individuals, institutions, communities and other stakeholders on the necessity to join the advocacy for the course and cause of mental health. Join us to provide enlightenment, information and education on mental health with the ultimate vision and mission of engendering a world that puts premium on the mental wellbeing of all.”
On his part, a former Medical Director, Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH) Benin City, Dr. Reuben Osahon called for support for psychiatry patients.