Medical doctor, Iyanuoluwa Balogun from the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta at the weekend regretted that most hospitals do not have enough medical personnel to manage mental health and therefore early detection of mental illness is almost impossible in the country.
The medical expert attributed the lack of medical professionals to ongoing brain drain, the exodus of medical practitioners, and the absence of medical facilities to manage the disease. She noted that this is making early detection of mental illness almost impossible in Nigeria.
She made these declarations at a programme christened Citizens Forum on Rock City 101.9FM Abeokuta organised by the National Association of SeaDogs Pyrate Confraternity, Ash Montana Deck in collaboration with Grundziro Deck and Long Island Deck in commemoration of this year’s World Mental Health Day.
Balogun who described mental health as emotional, psychological, and social well-being, said the assessment of mental health care is a fundamental human right for all citizens which the government needs to make available to all.
She regretted that in Nigeria, most hospitals do not have enough medical personnel to manage mental health and therefore early detection of mental illness is almost impossible in Nigeria.
Balogun, who said that Mental Health is a universal human right, emphasized that the brain drain and the exodus of medical practitioners are affecting mental health care delivery. She explained that many psychiatric hospitals in the country lack psychiatric doctors, nurses, and social workers.
According to her, “Assessment of mental health care is a fundamental human right for all citizens which the government needs to make available to all.
“The brain drain and the exodus of medical practitioners are affecting mental health care delivery and psychiatric hospitals that are now lacking psychiatric Doctors, Nurses, and Social Workers.
“All these factors hinder the accessibility of mental health care in the country. Mental illness in Nigerian society is still not widely accepted the way other illness is accepted.
“People tend to discriminate and stigmatize people with mental illness. People attach mental illness to some myths which makes society isolate people who have mental illness.
“Isolation, stigmatization, and discrimination further cause more harm to the patient. The society needs to be well educated in mental health issues so that people can come out to seek for health.
“Many are going into gambling to make more money which results in ‘addiction’ which is a mental illness, people also take to substance abuse in the view of forgetting their pains which is very dangerous to one’s mental health.
“The society should come together and allow people to be open to talk about what they are going through in order to be able to seek help. People who talk about suicide or similar complaints should be taken seriously as depression is real.
“Children and teenagers also need to be monitored, according to the doctor, and not just waved off that they have no emotions that can’t lead to mental illness. Inability to sleep, loss of appetite, weight loss, excessive sadness or moodiness, and self-isolation can be a cause for alarm or could be a cause for investigation as to someone’s mental state”.
She advised that people should not go beyond their means in the present economy, take care of their physical health, eat good food/balanced diets with lots of fruits and vegetables, get enough rest, exercise regularly, and go on holidays or vacations.
The medical expert further discouraged the high use of alcohol and cigarettes and the use of illicit substances in any form which is on the rise today.
She also noted that more should be done to improve the health facilities across the country by the Government and people should take good care of their mental health and their general physical health.