Nigeria’s conflict experience increases mental health issues

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The new estimates from the World Health Organisation show that Nigeria is among 22 percent of countries in conflict areas around the world that correlates with increase in mental health conditions.

Nigeria’s conflict and humanitarian crisis has claimed the lives of 20,000 people, displaced 2.6 million people in 2016 and the violence is also worsening with the current severe drought. These factors are leading severe mental health issues and the reoccurrences of suicidal episodes recorded across states in the country.

The burden of mental disorders is high in Nigeria and mental health service is lacking in the country.

The existing Mental Health Policy document in Nigeria was formulated in 1991, the first to address mental health issues. It comprised advocacy, promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. There is considerable neglect.  Since its formulation, no revision has taken place and no formal assessment of how much it has been implementation has taken place.

The report from the Lancet journal estimated that the prevalence of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia at any point in time was present among the conflict-affected populations assessed.

However, it was earlier warned by Abdulaziz Abdullahi, the permanent secretary of the ministry of health, at the mental health action committee and stakeholders workshop in Abuja that by 2020, it is projected that common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse-related disorders, will disable more people than complications arising from HIV/AIDS, heart disease, accidents, and wars combined.

Abdullahi also stated that three in every ten Nigerians suffer from one form of mental disorder and it is estimated that about 40 million Nigerians are believed to be suffering from mental disorders.

“In Nigeria, an estimated 20–30 per cent of our population are believed to suffer from … Read More...