60m Nigerians suffering from mental illness—psychiatrists association

Abuja—Taiwo Obindo, president of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), says more than 60 million Nigerians are suffering from mental illnesses. 

TheCable reports that Obindo stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. 

He said some factors hindering the management of mental illness in Nigeria include myths and traditional beliefs, inadequate mental health facilities, and the number of mental health professionals. 

“Mental healthcare is in a sorry state given that we have more than 60 million Nigerians suffering from various mental illnesses and that only about 10 percent of them could access appropriate care,” Obindo said:

“We are left with more than 90 percent who are unable to access care and this group is called the treatment gap for mental illnesses.’’

He said the gap was due to various factors like the knowledge gap in which people do not have appropriate information about the causes and treatment for mental illnesses.

Obindo said the few available mental health facilities were located in the city centres.

“Knowing that 60 per cent of Nigerians live in the rural areas, they do not have access to appropriate care and have to travel long distances to access facilities.”

He said that the number of mental health practitioners was low as it fell below the ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation.

He also said the few trained were often eager to leave the country.

“The environment in which we practice, the security situation and the remuneration that people were given in the country tend to push them out,” he added.

“And then, of course, the pull factor from the developed countries where they tend to poach on the already trained medical practitioners in the country, particularly the psychiatrists.”

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