By Doris Obinna
Ogun State Commissioner for Health Dr. Babatunde Ipaye has said over 60 million Nigerians have various degrees of mental disorder.
Ipaye made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abeokuta, the state capital.
He said about 80 per cent of people move about with one mental disorder without knowing or seeking help, while 20-25 per cent live with a full blown mental disorder in the country.
He said cases of mental challenges range from simple minor mood disorder to extreme cases of mental accreditation and added that one, out of every five Nigerian, has an extreme mental disorder.
The commissioner said events that could trigger minor mood disorder that finally leads to extreme mental illness are marital pressure, educational and economic pressure.
Dr. Ipaye said other pressures are expectation and disappointment and advocated that community mental homes should be created across the country to socially managed mental disorder at the grassroots level.
Urging the Federal Government to prioritise primary healthcare intervention for minor mood disorder. The commissioner said people should always go for regular psychotherapy checkup with no cost implication to manage cases of mental challenges before it gets out of hands.
Corroborating Ipaye, a medical consultant at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Dr. Olumuyiwa Odunsote said the figure of 60 million is just one third of the entire Nigerian population and going by the international standards and international definition of mental disorder, the figure is likely to be true.
“In Africa, the end stage of mental illness is when the person has gone out of control, which is what is seen as madness.
“But, internationally, somebody who is still under control can be diagnosed with some level of mental disorder.
“Why this can be true is because a lot of people are depressed, a lot of people undergo severe stress and are highly frustrated in the country.
“Some of these people, in a bid to handle problems, take to drugs, alcohol and exhibit extreme behaviours.”