Good Health is important for the development of any country in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) even defines health as “a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So, mental health is an essential part of our health and well-being.
WHO then defines mental health as mental well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to contribute to his or her community.
Thus, sound mental health is the foundation for an individual’s well-being and determines how well the individual contributes to the community.
There is considerable neglect of mental health issues in the country.
There is no doubt that Nigerians has been negligent about mental health issues. The awareness of the Nigerian public about mental health issues and topics is also very sad. In our bid to help create awareness about mental health issues in Nigeria, here are six shocking mental health statistics in Nigeria that show the poor level of mental health awareness in Nigeria.
6 Mental Health Statistics in Nigeria
1. 30% Of Nigerians Suffer from Mental Illness
The Permanent Secretary of the federal ministry of health in Nigeria, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, stated that a staggering 30% of Nigerians suffer from mental illnesses.
He said this while speaking at the Mental Health Action Committee and Stakeholders’ Workshop in Abuja on November 2018.
2. The Current Mental
Health Policy document in Nigeria was formulated in 1991
The existing Mental Health Policy document in Nigeria was formulated in 1991. That was the first policy addressing mental health issues in Nigeria. It included advocacy, promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. However, since it’s inception, no revisions to the policy have been made, and no formal assessment of how much it has been implemented has been conducted.
In 2003 a bill for a Mental Health Act in Nigeria was introduced, but it was withdrawn in 2009. Consequently, in 2013, a bill for the establishment of the Mental Health Act was re-introduced the National Assembly by Hon. Samuel Babatunde Adejare and Hon. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, The bill was made to provide access to mental healthcare services, treatment, professional facilities, Law enforcements and other judicial issues for people with mental illness in Nigeria.
However, since 2005 this bill is yet to be passed into law.
3. Just 3.3% of the health budget of Nigeria goes to mental health
Only 3.3% of the health budget of the Nigerian government goes to mental health. Then 90% of the budget goes to mental health hospitals; a very little budget is allocated for mental health awareness and mental health services in Nigeria.
4. Seven million Nigerians suffer from Depression in Nigeria
World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 claimed that 7,079,815 Nigerians suffer from depression. Depression is a type of mental illness that is characterized by unhappiness and can lead to suicide.
Seven million Nigerians represent approximately 4 percent of the entire population, thus making Nigeria the most depressed country in Africa.
5. There are myths and misconceptions surrounding mental illness in Nigeria
Most Nigerians see mental health as a spiritual problem, while most of them view it as a myth.
In 2016, a neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Memumah Yusuf Kadiri pointed this out, she appealed to lawmakers to pass as well as implement the Mental Health Bill into an act so that they could avoid the dehumanization of the mentally challenged people in the country.
Former Medical Director, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Rahman Lawal, also reiterated this fact during an interview. He said that many people refuse to visit the hospital for treatment on mental issues because they believe psychiatric illness is a spiritual issue. Thus, they would rather take such mental health patients to spiritual healing homes, churches or faith organizations to get cure through spiritual means.
Many parents, as well as traditional and spiritual healers, equate most mental illness to spiritual attacks, and this has paved the way for the dehumanization of mentally challenged in Nigeria.
It’s very difficult for a Nigerian to admit they have a mental illness, because of the stigma that comes with it.
6. There are only 130 psychiatrists in Nigeria
A report by Al Jazeera claims that they are only 130 psychiatrists in Nigeria who cater to a population of over 40 million possible mental health patients.
They are also very few mental health facilities in Nigeria and most of the asylums overcrowded.
Mental health is fundamental to your physical health and the growth of the nation. This mental health statistics in Nigeria is meant to raise awareness on the state of mental health in Nigeria.