US group moves to reduce number of mentally-deranged people in Nigeria

Worried by the high number of mentally deranged persons in Nigeria, the Nigerian Mental Health Practitioners in the United States, said they were poised to crash the figure.


According to statistics, between 10 and 20% of Nigeria’s over 160 million people have one form of mental illness or the other, meaning that about 32 million Nigerians are mentally deranged.


Addressing newsmen Wednesday in Umuahia, Abia State capital, the President of the Nigerian Mental Health Practitioners in the US, Dr Azubuike Aliche, decried the inadequacy of infrastructure for mental health care in Nigeria.


Noting the grave danger of having a large population of mentally challenged persons in a country, Dr Aliche said the US group had decided to intervene to help save the situation.

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He said that the association would launch the Nigerian-American Institute for Mental Health at Godfrey Okoye University Enugu on April 13, as part of its resolve to help provide quality health care for patients with mental challenges.


Dr Aliche regretted that the Nigerian Government “has less budgetary provisions for mental health”, describing it as inadequate in view of the preponderance of mental cases in the country.


He said only about 10% of patients with mental challenges in Nigeria have access to mental health care.


He said that a country with such a huge population of mental health challenges should be intentional about her mental health care.


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Dr Aliche said the intervention of the US group comprising different experts in mental health care, would be more on awareness creation and training of local medics on the treatment of mentally deranged persons.


Noting that economic stress could cause or worsen mental challenges, Dr Aliche regretted that religious and cultural beliefs constitute major setbacks in the treatment of mental illness in Nigeria.


He said it was wrong to assume that a mentally deranged person was the cause of his or her condition instead of finding ways to assist the patient in accessing treatment.


He said that patients with mental health challenges should not be discriminated against, adding that it is an eyesore to allow them to roam the streets.



Akanji Philip

Correspondent at Voice Air Media.

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