At Least 20 Per Cent Of Nigerians Are Likely To Have Mental Disorder

A medical expert, Dr Femi Olugbile, who also doubles as a Consultant Psychiatrist, has said that at least 20 per cent of Nigerians are prone to mental disorder.

While speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, Olugbile, who is a former Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospial (LASUTH), stated that at least 20 per cent of the Nigerian population will at some time in their lives experience at least one episode of mental disorder; a feat which is due to high rate of poverty, lack of social welfare and high rate of endemic infectious diseases.

He said that at any point in time, two to five per cent of the 20 per cent population would manifest the symptoms of mental disorder at early stage. “These figures are universal, but the mental disorder can increase in times of social upheaval, such as war, terrorism and so on. “Also, security challenges including kidnappings and armed robbery can lead to increased stress, which increases the likelihood of nervous breakdown,’’ Olugbile added.

Speaking on the capacity of the country to handle mentally disordered people, he decried the few number of psychiatry hospitals in the country, saying that the facilities would not meet the number of people that need medical attention.

“There are eight Federal Government-owned neuro-psychiatric hospitals, and there are smaller units in the teaching hospitals and a few general hospitals handling mental cases.

“However, there is need to effectively use what is on the ground as mental healthcare should start from the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs). “All PHCs should be primed to render basic mental healthcare in form of diagnosis and simple treatment, while referral, where necessary, should originate from here,’’ Olugbile said. He said that the private hospitals should also be integrated into the system to provide universal care.

Olugbile said integration of private hospitals would enable people to get care close to their homes, while the specialist hospitals would only deal with serious referral cases.

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