Prof. Monday Igwe, Medical Director, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, says sit-at-home and negative COVID-19 fall-outs remain major trigger of depression leading to mental illness within the South-East and country in general.
Igwe was speaking with newsmen in Enugu on Monday on the increasing mental illness cases being recorded in most psychiatric hospitals worldwide including the country.
The medical director spoke on the sidelines of the World Mental Health Day 2021, which was themed: “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.
He said that other triggers included: high level of unemployment, inflation, terrorism, banditry, communal conflicts and kidnapping, adding that people’s daily lives and activities had changed considerably as a result of these unhealthy developments.
According to him, all these unfriendly developments lead to losses to many and for some it might further lead to depression and hopelessness that might trigger off full blown mental health challenges.
“It is projected that the need for mental health and psycho-social support will substantially increase in the coming months and years.
“Investment in mental health programmes at the state, national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of under-funding, is now more important than it has ever been.
“Unfortunately, mental health is one of the most neglected areas of public health.
“Globally, one billion people are living with a mental disorder. Three million people die every year from the harmful use of alcohol, while one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide,” he said.
Igwe noted that societal stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of people with mental health conditions further worsen the situation of mental health disorders in the country.
The don said that more disturbing was that relatively few people in Nigeria have access to quality and affordable mental health services.
“It is estimated that more than 75 per cent of the people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders receive no treatment for their condition.
“Painfully, most countries including Nigeria spend on average only 2 per cent of their health budgets on mental health.
“World Health Organization, together with partner agencies, is calling for a massive scale-up in quality of mental health services.
“This is the time for the world to come together and begin redressing the historic neglect of mental health.
“Unless we make serious commitments to scale up services in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching,” he said.
Igwe said that concerted action must be taken to address decades of inattention to and underdevelopment of mental health services and systems, human rights abuses and discrimination against people with mental disorders.
It would be recalled that the staff of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu held a road walk to commemorate the Day within Enugu metropolis on Saturday, Oct. 9.
The World Mental Health Day is celebrated on Oct. 10 every year.
The celebration is supported by the United Nations and was first observed in 1992 on the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health