30% Nigerians Suffer Mental Illness – Consultant Psychiatrist

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By; MOHAMMED MUNIRAT NASIR, Gusau
About 30 per cent of the country population are suffering from mental illness, hence the need for the National Assembly to pass the Mental Health bill to reduce the menace.
This call was made by a Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Aremu Saad at a one-day Northwest Wide Public Mental Health Awareness Campaign and Interactive Session organised by the Federal Neuropsychiatric  Hospital, Kware Sokoto State held in Gusau on Thursday.
Aremu said the Mental health bill is paramount to reducing the high rate of mental disorders which he puts at between 20-30 percent in Nigeria.
The consultant psychiatrist said the Mental health bill if passed will protect the right of persons with mental disorders, ensures equal access to treatment and cure and also discourage stigma and discrimination and set standards for psychiatric practice in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, researches have actually shown 20 to 30 per cent of Nigerians are suffering from mental illness. People believe that it is not common but from that statistic you will agree with me that it is come so we need to do more”, he said.
Aremu lamented that the attention given to mental health disorders in Nigeria is inadequate.
“The level of awareness of the Nigerian public on mental health issues is also understandably poor, and with lots of misconception and myths”, he said.
Aremu called on the people to show more care to those with mental disorders because every is vulnerable to mental illness as very one in five person have mental disorder.
“The signs and symptoms of the severe ones includes, hearing things other people don’t, seeing things others don’t, aggression, depression, restlessness, poor sleep and talking alone”, he said.
Also speaking, Dr Mannir Bature Tsafe of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Gusau, said efforts will be geared towards public enlightenment and sensitization to equip the people about mental illness.
“We need to always show compassion to those with mental disorders to reduce the effects on them”, he said.
Bature warned against drug abuse particularly among the youths.
The Mental Health Awareness Training of Trainers Campaign and Interactive Session for Ward Development Committee (WDC), Health Faculty Committee ((HFC), Youth Groups and Media practitioners on integration of health services.

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