By Dennis Agbo
MEDICAL Director of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu, FNHE, Dr. Monday Igwe has disclosed that mental health cases worsened in Nigeria with the Coronavirus pandemic that swept across the globe.
This was even as he also revealed that there was an alarming rate of abandoned psychiatric patients at the FNH Enugu and pleaded with stakeholders to partner with the hospital for sake of humanity and service to God.
Igwe made the disclosures at the hospital during the 2020 celebration of World Mental Health Day
Igwe, a consultant psychiatric, said that it was expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years, more especially when attention for mental health has suffered many years of underfunding.
He said it was for the reason of underfunding of mental health that this year’s topic ‘Mental Health for All: Greater Investment- Greater Access,’ was chosen for the celebration.
Igwe said that more than one billion people leave with a mental health disorder, while three million people die every year from harmful use of alcohol and one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide.
“And now, billions of people around the world have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on people’s mental health.
“The limited access to quality, affordable and mental health care in the world before pandemic, and particularly in humanitarian emergencies and conflict settings, has been further diminished due to covid-19 as the pandemic has disrupted health services around the world.
“We are already seeing the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching,” Igwe said.
He lamented that psychiatrists in Nigeria were grossly inadequate with eight Federal government funded psychiatric hospitals and about 350 psychiatrists to take care of 200 million Nigeria population, adding that shortage of manpower in mental health was made worse by migration outside the country by medical workers for better day.