Former Power Minister, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, yesterday, in Enugu rated governments at various levels low in the area of psychiatric and mental health care.
He said this was worrisome considering that some medical scholars have revealed that in a population of 160 million or thereabout, “it is speculated that 64 million Nigerians suffer from one form of mental illness or the other deserving attention.”
Nebo spoke as a guest lecturer at the 2nd Public Lecture organized by the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu in collaboration with the West African College of Nursing.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Psychiatric and Mental Health in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects,’ the former minister said whereas government had done much in the area of Primary Health Care, much was yet to be done in the area of psychiatric and mental health.
“I will confess that while Government has built modern diagnostic centres, dialysis and ophthalmological centres, and constructed more than 710 Primary Health Care Centres throughout our political wards in Enugu State, we are only beginning to give priority towards optimizing and modernizing our. Psychiatric Mental Health Institutions in the State to meet required demands.
He identified causes of mental illness to include genetic composition, early development, neurological and psychological experiences and environmental stresses.
While calling for increased awareness on the treatment and management of mental disorder, Nebo said: “The belief that many Nigerians seem to hold that mental disorder is a result of supernatural forces and, therefore, only responds to cure through traditional practices and supernatural incantations, must give way and face the realities of modern conditions, which in fact, produce the stresses that lead to different level of mental conditions.”