The Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN) recently shared an alarming information during its 54th Annual General Meeting in Maiduguri.
According to APN President, Prof. Taiwo James Obindo, around 50% of people in the northeast region are grappling with mental health issues. These challenges are attributed to the prolonged insurgency and economic difficulties facing the country.
Prof. Taiwo emphasized the pressing need for basic mental health services, which many individuals cannot access due to their economic circumstances.
He expressed distress over the rising rates of mental illness influenced by various factors, including kidnapping, unemployment, underemployment, loss of loved ones, insecurity, and economic hardships across the nation.
The president highlighted the impact of sycophant substances on mental health numbers, underscoring the multifaceted nature of the issue. He commended those providing psycho-social support to people displaced by insurgency.
Prof. Taiwo noted a significant increase in mental health cases, estimating that in the northeast alone, about 50% of the population may be affected.
Referring to the pre-conference medical outreach in Maiduguri, Prof. Taiwo mentioned that over 500 patients were attended to, reflecting the dire need for medical assistance in the region.
“We treated a total of 500 patients with all different kinds of illness; If we had more times you can be sure over 5,000 would be reached; we were able to see quite a set of patients,” Prof Taiwo said.
He urged governments to prioritize adequate training for medical professionals, including students, residents, doctors, and specialists.
Dr. Ibrahim Abdu Wakawa, the Medical Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri, expressed gratitude to APN for the success of the conference.
The medical outreach treated 500 patients with various illnesses, indicating the substantial demand for healthcare services.
The situation underscores the necessity for sustained efforts and resources to address the mental health crisis in Nigeria, particularly in regions affected by insurgency and economic challenges.