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Experts urge Nigerian Government to invest more in mental health

*Medical professionals say about 95 percent of people with mental health disorders in low and middle-income countries like Nigeria are unable to access mental health services

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Healthcare professionals have advised the Nigerian Government at all levels to address a disturbing medical condition in which several Nigerians with mental health issues do not get the desired treatment, and continue to experience stigma and discrimination.

ConsumerConnect gathered the experts stated this during the recent virtual mental wellness symposium organised by Corona Schools’ Trust Council.

Dr. Gbonjubola Abiri, Medical Director of Tranquil and Quest Behavioural Health, urged  the Federal and state governments to increase budgetary allocation to mental health emergencies  to address the challenges of mental health.

The expert, among other professionals at the mental wellness symposium, also observed that a lot of Nigerians with mental health issues rarely get the desired treatment and continue to experience stigma and discrimination in the society, agency report noted.

The consultant psychiatrist stressed that lack of access to medical services remained a factor that had increased the unequal nature of mental illnesses in the world.

According to her, about 95 percent of people with mental health disorders in low and middle-income countries like Nigeria are unable to access mental health services.

Nigeria has fewer than 250 psychiatrists for its over 200 million people.

The medical expert also stated that the figure shows that there is fewer than one psychiatrist to 200 million because the expertise is declining the resources are dropping.

Dr. Abiri further said: “The World Health Organisation reports that one in four people at some point in their lives was affected by mental health condition.

“Statistics and data continue to show mental health issues are not given the attention they deserve.”

The consultant psychiatrist further noted that with the rising rate of hunger, insecurity, and financial difficulties, mental health condition continues to rise among Nigerians, adding that the stigma people with mental health issues face affects their educational opportunities, job prospects and also their families.

Mrs. Adeyoyin Adesina, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Corona Schools’ Trust Council, also called for the need to address these inequalities to ensure that people enjoy good mental health.

The Corona Schools’ Trust Council CEO noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, the consequent lockdowns and their ripple effects on the populace have further highlighted, not only the inequality in the economy and the health sector but the gross inadequacies therein.

This development has come with the continued job and personal insecurity, and with physical distancing that has led many to social isolation, she said.

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