From Gyang Bere, Jos
Following the swelling number of mental health disorder orchestrated by insecurity, COVID-19 and natural disasters, health expert from Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Dr. Aishatu Yusha’u Armiya’u has advised Federal Government to consider the potency of traditional and spiritual healers in curbing the menace.
She noted that most Nigerians are battling with mental challenges due to insecurity, financial instability and the devastated effect of COVID-19 that led to lost of jobs and means of livelihoods.
Dr. Armiya’u disclosed this during webinar paper presentation, titled, “The Nigeria Mental Health and Psychosocial Support System (MHPSS), on emergency: COVID-19 and implications”, funded by Roxa Luxemberg Stiftung (RLS) and implemented by Charis Healthcare and Community Support Initiative, Jos, Plateau State.
“Government should deplore the possibility and potency of building relationship with traditional and spiritual healers where appropriate, which can be implemented in the country in the light of the role they all play in the mental health space.
“Boarders determinants of mental health also need to be address such as ensuring sources of livelihood for those affected or displaced; rebuilding their communities and infrastructure provide social support for survivors and those with Psychological problems and early conflict resolution.”
She lamented that between January 2013 and January 2014, 9. 5 million people were estimated to have been affected by natural and man made disaster which is compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Dr. Armiya’u advised that the media should be thoroughly engaged in community awareness on mental health issues to bring to the limelight the suffering and psychological impairment of the survivors.
A Communication strategist, Adah Francis Abah, who also presented a paper, lamented that Nigeria is lacking behind with inadequate number of Health mental personnel as there are less than 150 psychologists with very few neurologists in the country.
“Another challenge confronting Nigeria is ‘brain drain’ resulting in the country losing its newly trained professionals who are in search of greener pastures to western countries.
“In comparison to other countries in Africa such as South Africa, Egypt and Kenya, Nigeria is lagging behind in regards to mental health personnel as those countries have more psychologists per 100,000 persons and also higher proportion of psychiatric.”
Programme Manager, Charis Healthcare and Community Support Initiative, Henry Ojanya said the Programme, “beyond the COVID-19 pandemic: the Nigerian psychological system” had 57 participants logging around Nigeria and people from Ghana, South Africa, Malaysia, Dubia among others also joint.
He said Charis is an organization that provide mental services to disadvantaged individuals, families and communities by empowering them to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives and become agents of change in the communities.