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Drug-induced mental disorders increasing among Nigerian adolescents — Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun

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…Says 150 new cases diagnosed weekly

By Chioma Obinna

The Medical Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Yaba, FNPHY, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun has raised the alarm over increasing prevalence of drug abused induced mental disorders among children, adolescent and adult Nigerians saying over 150 new cases are admitted at the hospital and its Child and Adolescent Centre, Oshodi Annexe every week.

mental disorder
L-R: Medical Director, Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun; Founder & Executive of Arts In Medicine Projects, Kunle Adewale; Mrs Hauwa Yerima of Temple Schools International; Acting Head of Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services Centre (CAMHSC), Dr. Grace Ijarogbe during the unveiling of Murals/ Music in medicine as part of activities to mark the 20 years Anniversary of the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services Centre last week in Lagos.

Ogun who also lamented poor funding of the hospital disclosed that most of the patients who have been admitted in the 60s and 70s are ageing without any form of budget for their upkeep from the government.

Ogun who also lamented the continued neglect of child and adolescent mental health disorders in the country said in the children centre alone, between 20 to 25 new cases are seen every week.

Ogun spoke during the unveiling of morals/celebration of the hospital’s 20 years of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Nigeria with the theme: “ Moral and Music in Health”  declared that it is time to bring mental health to the front burner because without good mental health there will be no good health.

She said if 1 in 5 Nigerians have a mental health challenge that means that in all families, there is somebody somewhere suffering from one mental challenge. So why should we continue to push mental health to the background?

Lamenting that mental health has been pushed to the background, she noted that “Until the issue of drug abuse, people felt unconcerned but today we know that the issue of drug abuse is real and it is with us, with our children, students and it is everywhere.  For years in this place, in two years, we will not even see one or two adolescent that is brought in here for drug abuse, but now we are admitting in droves, at Yaba where we admit adult, the case is the same. The prevalence has really gone up.   If it is not for tramadol, it is Indian hemp and all sorts of things that were never described in the textbooks.  Indian hemp is more but our youths have gone innovative in taken so many drugs,” she lamented.

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Continuing, she noted that between 10-20 per cent of children in any population have mental health disorder while the issue had been kept at the back end.

She explained that in childhood, the percentage may be a bit around 9-10 per cent but by the time they got to adolescent, the prevalence jumps to about like 20 per cent.

“We are told younger children, less than 19 years form more than 60 per cent of the population.

“If we calculate between 10 and 20 per cent of such, we will know that we are dealing with a massive thing.  When we talk about 10 per cent of 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population of 200 million, we know that we are dealing with something massive in the country.”

Ogun, however, noted half of the people with mental health they see at the age of 25-30 years already had traces of mental health problem which people did not take cognizance of by the age of 14 yrs.

Tracing some of the problems to poor maternal and antenatal health, she said: “This problem we are nursing in adulthood started before the age of 14”.

On the issue of funding, the Medical Director who lamented the paucity of funds regretted that people still see the hospital as an asylum even after 112 years.

She said to the issue of perception as an asylum people who have been around since the 60s and 70s are growing old in Yaba without any budgetary allocation for them.

“I have said to the National Assembly that there is no budget for these people,  the hospital accommodates them and feed them out of the  money other people pay.  And when they die what happens, we burry them, there is no budget and that is not recognized. If a patient die will I leave them?  The budgetary allocation especially the overhead for the hospital should be increased.”

On the Moral and Music in healthcare which was celebrated in partnership with Tidas Foundation, she noted that music therapy and medical treatment go hand in hand.

“It is therapeutic. Shakespeare said ‘if music is the food of love play on’. So music has been recognized as something that helps us cognitively.

She highlighted relieve in mental stress and emotional and behavioural problems as some of the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs addressed by music.   For children that have problems, those that are anxious, depressed music can be a form of therapy for them.

“Murals is about light and colour, it energises the children, the caregivers as well as the team members.”

Founder and Executive Director, Arts in Medicine Projects, Mr Kunle Adewale explained that the introduction of murals in Nigerian hospitals were part of changing the narratives in medical treatment and hospital environment in Nigeria which is always gloomy compared to other hospitals overseas.

Adewale said the paintings which will last for so many years and will help brighten the hospital environment lift the spirit of the sick and the medical workers.  “As a visual artist, I looked at what we can do differently with art, and we find that the use of art in hospital places are not really been maximized considering what is happening in developed countries like the US, Canada, so we decided to change the narrative in hospitals.”

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