A professor of public health and chairman, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Prof. Akin Osibogun has said more than 40 million Nigerians are suffering from mental health disorders.
Osibogun who stated this yesterday at the maiden edition of Vanguard Mental Health Summit in Lagos, said the situation was made worse with the current insecurity in the country while the country continually experiences brain drain in the area of medical experts.
The predicament of people suffering mental health-related issues is compounded as a result of stigmatisation, discrimination, denial and lack of understanding, Osibogun said, adding that, “Recent estimates suggest that no fewer than 40 million Nigerians have one mental issue or the other and we have less than 200 psychiatrists in the country at the last count. I honestly don’t know how many are left after the current wave of brain drain.”
He said mental health issues have generally suffered from denial, lack of understanding, stigmatization and discrimination which are all compounded by a difficulty in initiating a public discussion of the issue, while calling on stakeholders to join forces together to tackle the menace in the country.
The managing director, Pinnacle Medical Services, Dr Maymunah Kadiri, said 90 per cent of the reasons why Nigerians visit the doctors, pharmacists, and drug shops is due to stress.
Meanwhile, in his efforts to tackle drug abuse which is one of the leading causes of mental illness in Nigeria, the chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig Gen Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), said his administration had seized illicit drugs worth over N1 billion from various suspected dealers.