Nigeria needs documented policy for mental health – Owoeye

Nigeria needs documented policy for mental health – Owoeye

  • Prevalence: 1 in 4 individuals

  • 20 million attempted suicide annually associated with mental health

Managing Director, Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Dr Olugbenga Owoeye has said that Nigeria needs a documented mental health policy to tackle the menace in the country noting that the prevalence is one in four individuals.

Owoeye said suicide accounts for about one million deaths annually, with psychiatric conditions associated with 90 percent of cases which is grossly under-reported for several reasons. 

Also, there’s 20 million attempted suicide annually associated with mental health.

Panelists and speakers at the Forum
Photo: Vanguard Allure









Delivering a keynote address at a maiden Annual Mental Health Summit, organised by Vanguard Media Limited, publisher of Vanguard newspaper Thursday August 26, on the topic: ‘Mobilizing for Systematic Change and Better Mental Health Care in Nigeria’ Owoeye said mental health policy is an organized set of values, principles and objectives for improving mental disorders in a population.

According to him: “It is usually formulated to cover a long period of about 5-10 years.

“It should be an initiative of the government and, the higher the level of government involvement, the it’s chances of success.”

Stating why Nigeria needs a documented policy, he said: “It will provide a framework and also give priority to the treatment.

“Mental Health policy will help to develop mental health services in a coordinated and systematic manner. It will help to identify key stakeholders.

“The policy will allow different stakeholders to reach agreement,” he said.

Owoeye also stated that people with mental health disorders need equity and should not be discriminated against on the basis of their mental illnesses.

He said: “People with mental disorders should receive the same quality and standards of care as other people receive

“They may require specific legal protection to ensure the maintenance of their human rights.”

He also called for integration of mental health services, saying that “Mental health services work best when integrated into other health care services at all levels instead of stand alone facilities,” Owoeye maintained.

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