Expert says 65 million Nigerians suffer from mental illness

A consultant psychiatrist, Professor Olayinka Omigbodun, has expressed concern over the rising cases of mental illness in the country.

According to him, almost 64 million out of Nigeria’s 180 million are suffering one form of mental illness or the other.

Omigbodun, who head the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Department of the University College, Ibadan, addressing newsmen in Ibadan, describes the situation, as alarming.

At the UCH, the expert said out of every of every 20 patients admitted daily, six or seven are suffering from mental illness, adding that the hospital treated more than 1,600 cases in the last one year.

Asking government to give emphasis to mental health, the professor explained that 65 percent of those suffering from mental illness are women because they are prone to depression.

She said, “The Nigerian government has not put enough emphasis on this area of health challenge which is on the increase daily.

“This gives us a holistic figure of 1, 680 cases of mental health illnesses treated in UCH, annually and this is really an alarming situation on our hands.

“ Sixty-five per cent of these numbers are women and girls because women are more prone to develop depression which is a primary factor causing mental illness

“Half of this admission is discharged early after full recovery from treatment, but a lot others remain for longer periods of time in the ward.

“In a population of about 180 million people or there about, it is speculated that about 64 million Nigerians suffer from one form of mental disorder or the other, and deserving attention.

“Government had done much in the area of Primary Health Care and HIV/AIDS, much is yet to be done in the area of psychiatry and mental health and this is a little disheartening.’’

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