World Mental Health Day 2019
Morning Crossfire starts with the grim estimate that Sheriff announces: In 2018, The WHO’s Global Health Observatory data repository recorded "an estimated 17 suicides per 100,000 people across Nigeria, ranking seventh in Africa just behind Zimbabwe with 19 suicides per 100,000 people." Apart from that WHO reports that every 40 seconds, someone loses his or her life to suicide.
Wemimo also reveals that the Federal Government last year reported that about 30 percent of Nigerians are mental unstable. Dr Aminu says mental disorders like other types of diseases are very common. So, we should not be scared. He quotes WHO that at least one out of every four persons worldwide may have mental health issues. “It’s just a problem with the brain just as we have in other parts of the body.”
Regarding what causes it, he says the following: “Someone may have an accident and the injury may cause mental problems. Also, a woman giving birth may have a child delivered with issues on the brain. The problem could also be started due to the taking of illicit drugs. Even alcohol can sometimes damage someone’s brain and lead to mental health issues. People may also inherit mental illness.”
Alade-Jare Samuel says: “The patterns that we can watch for are changes in behavioral patterns. People may have behaviors that are not mainstream and we may not consider them weird because they have been that way. But people we know are reserved may suddenly change. For example, people who are not very friendly and don’t talk too much may become suddenly the talking type, preaching in public, saying they are now born again, and they could suddenly start greeting people.
“Also, there are developmental disorders and it can affect any child. Like the doctor in Kano mentioned, birth defects could cause problems in children early in life. There are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and developmental disorders.”
This important day is observed on 10th October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
In 2019, World Mental Health Day focused on 'Suicide Prevention'. A 2017 report revealed that, in Nigeria less than 15% of people with severe mental illness access mental health care services.
Nigeria has around one psychiatrist per 1 million population and four psychiatric nurses per 100,000 people, report says.
According to research, only around 1% of the health budget spent on mental health. WHO also makes it clear that about 3.3% of the health budget of the central government goes to mental health, with over 90% of this going to mental hospitals. In the Nigeria's 2020 Budget, N46bn has been allocated to the Health ministry.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday (8th October) presented the 2020 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly.
Other talking points in Morning Crossfire are directed to how operations are carried on in University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Lagos, and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano. Notably, there are fewer beds and fewer doctors in these places and yet, Nigerian doctors are leaving the country enmass.
But the following question is very important: What effective ways can Nigeria deploy in changing the negative attitude of people towards victims of mental illness?
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- Dr. Ruth Nyebuchi-Philips - Senior Registrar, Dept of Neuro-psychiatry, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital
- Alade-Jare Samuel - General Secretary, Residents Doctors Association, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Lagos.
- Dr Aminu Shehu Ibrahim - Mental Health Specialist, Psychiatry Department, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano
WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2019
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry)
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka