60m Nigerians suffering from mental illnesses -psychiatrists association

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

The president revealed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

According to him, some factors obstructing 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.’’

The president added that the gap was as a result of several factors like the knowledge gap as do not possess relevant information about the causes and treatment for mental illnesses.

He the few available mental health facilities were fixed 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.”

According to him, the number of mental health practitioners was low as it fell below the ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Furthermore, he said the few trained were often excited to depart from 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,”

“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.” he said.

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