Mental Health Day: Psychiatrist calls for more investments in mental health to broaden patronage

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By Habibu Harisu

Sokoto, Oct. 10, 2020 Dr Shehu Sale, the Medical Director of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Kware, Sokoto state, on Saturday called for more investment in mental healthcare to broaden public patronage in the country.

Sale, a Consultant Psychiatrists, made the call at a sensitization lecture organised by the hospital to commemorate the 2020 World Mental Health Day, celebrated every Oct. 10.

He said psychiatric hospitals provide efficient services in mental health delivery with different roles played by professionals.

”Mental health services provision is a combination of teamwork made up of psychiatrists, nurses, clinical psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

“More investment is needed in order to meet up with best global practices so that people will be satisfied that psychiatric hospitals are well placed to take care of all forms of mental health challenges.

“Investment in mental healthcare is one of the major challenges affecting many psychiatric hospitals in the country in terms of accessibility and availability to treatments.

“The proper way to arrest the situation is only through involvement of philanthropists and private bodies and government at all levels as many of the general hospitals have few or no mental health personnel,” Sale said.

”The Federal Government is trying, because all its psychiatric hospitals have manpower, equipment and ensured routine financial disbursements.

Sale said “Mental healthcare is the 9th component of the primary healthcare and has not been fully integrated, making it difficult for people in the rural areas to access treatment.”

The Medical Director said that the conflict situation in some parts of the country and emergence of COVID-19 pandemic have further diminished the little accessibility to mental healthcare.

”Most of the Federal government-owned psychiatric hospitals are situated in urban centres, as mental healthcare is not fully integrated, so, there is need for a massive scale investment to improve mental care in Nigeria.

Some professionals in the field are leaving the country for greener pastures in developed nations.

”Nigeria is training psychiatrists or experts in this field; as we are training, they are migrating to other countries something needed to be done,” Sale added.

He emphasized the need for sustained campaign to enlighten the public on issues relating to mental health and the need to stop stigmatisation, discrimination, humiliation and neglects being faced by mentally-challenged people in the society.

According to him, the campaign programme should focus on awareness creation on mental health and patronising traditional healers particularly at the community and ward levels.

He urged well-meaning Nigerians, non-governmental organisations, philanthropists and governments to take up the task of enlightening the public about their mental health.

“In most areas, people with this ailment are often maltreated and neglected by the public, their family members and the community,” he said.

Sale, an Associate Professor and a Master Trainer of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), called on people to access the specialized facilities and cautioned them against seeking alternative therapy and patronising unprofessional healers.

He said accessing mental health at an early stage helps to solve the health challenge.

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