Lack of investment in mental health bane of access to treatment –Ogun

Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, on Wednesday called for more investment in mental healthcare in Nigeria.

Ogun made the call at a virtual programme organised by the hospital to commemorate the 2020 World Mental Health Day celebrated every October 10.

It was reported that theme for the celebration is: Mental Health Day, Great Investment, Great Access.

She said: “For us in this hospital, we are looking at the roles of different professionals, because the mental health team is made up of psychiatrists, nurses, clinical psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

“That is why we have come up with this programme, to let people know that this hospital is well placed to take care of mental health challenges.

“Investment in mental healthcare is one of the major challenges affecting accessibility to treatment in this part of the world.

“The only way we can fix this is through involvement of the government at all levels, especially the state governments.

“Go to other states, how many of them have general hospitals with mental health personnel, so, they need to invest in the mental health of people by engaging professionals.

“Frankly speaking, the Federal Government is trying, because all the eight psychiatric hospitals owned by the government have manpower, and I must also commend Lagos State in this area.”

She noted that some professionals in the field were leaving the country for greener pastures in other climes.

“It is not as if Nigeria is not training psychiatrists or expert in this field; as we are training, they are migrating to other countries.

“The number of psychiatrists in this country is not up to 250 and we keep training every year,” she said.

According to her, mental healthcare, which is the ninth component of the primary healthcare, has not been fully integrated, making it difficult for people in the rural areas to access treatment.

The medical director said that the conflict situation in some parts of the country and emergence of COVID-19 pandemic had further diminished the little accessibility to mental healthcare.

“The eight Federal-owned psychiatric hospitals are situated in urban centres; mental healthcare is not fully integrated, so, there is need for massive scale-up in investment, to improve mental care,” she said.

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