Three out of 10 Nigerians mentally ill – Reps

The House of Representatives has resolved to address the rising cases of mental health in the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi (PDP-Rivers) on Thursday in Abuja at the plenary.

Moving the motion, he noted that mental illness manifested in mood disorder, substance abuse, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, and old age-related disorder among others.

Quoting the World Health Organisation, he said over 20 million Nigerians
currently suffered from various degrees of mental illnesses or disorders without psychiatric health care.

He observed that three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, adding that at the moment, there was no mental health legislation in the country.

“The Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20 million citizens suffering from mental disorders.

He said that with few functional mental health facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases were left for traditional practitioners.

He added that this had resulted in the upsurge of mental health issues in the country, barding that the statistics are troubling.

He stated that the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country would cause the situation to degenerate.

The house resolved to mandate the Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health toward improving mental health facilities in the country.

It also called for serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue, while urging the committee to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector.

“This is to promote, educate and sensitize Nigerians on mental health and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.”

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