Expert Raises Concern Over Increasing Incidence Of Mental Illness

3 Min Read Benet Ugwu, a Mental Health Counselor, has expressed worry over the increasing incidences of mental illness in the country.

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Ugwu said this on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu

The clergy, who is the founder of Akirinja Rehabilitation Center, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) attributed most incidences of mental illness in the country to societal and economic challenges.

According to him, four out of every 100 Nigerians are severely mentally ill.

He named some examples of mental illness to include excessive anger and depression which could be caused by emotional and or psychological crisis.

He however, named schizophrenia as the major type of mental illness that was more detectable on sufferers.

The mental health counsellor explained that schizophrenia was a situation where the sufferers perceive, respond or react to sensory impulses which a normal human being was unaware of.

He however, said that it was worrisome that much efforts had not been made to provide increased health care to the patients.

“Everybody in Nigeria is mentally ill but it depends on the degree. Unfortunately, most mentally ill persons have been abandoned on our streets.
“It is so deplorable that we see human beings walking naked on the streets and eating out of garbage. Our society seems to have failed them.
“We are losing a lot of human resources for not providing health care for them because once you rehabilitate them, they will become productive,” he said.

The cleric noted with dismay that modern mental clinics were lacking in the country saying that the only functional mental center that cater for such ailments was in Jos, Plateau State capital.

He said that the NGO was set up to provide care and healing to the mentally ill in the society, adding that they have treated no fewer than 200 patients since 2009.

Ugwu disclosed that it took minimum of 18 months to rehabilitate a patient with such illness depending on the degree of damage.

The mental counselor said that the NGO had a clinic where such patients were treated in Enugu.

He however, appealed for assistance from governments and the private sector for the provision of accommodation to run a full-fledged residential clinic for proper care of patients.

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