Expert decries shortage of mental health facilities in Nigeria

A Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Dr Joseph Okegbe, Dr Joseph Okegbe said on Tuesday that mental health facilities and personnels in the nation are grossly inadequate.

Dr. Okegbe who made this known in Calabar in an interview said there were only eight Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospitals in the country, which were not enough to cater for the mental health issues in the nation.

In his words: “So many states did not establish any psychiatric hospital including my state, Cross River.

“We don’t even have the personnel because we don’t want to spend money to train personnel in mental health.

“We need to start asking for good social safety links such as easy accessibility to good health care, roads and other social amenities.

“On our own, people with good information can access good mental health services at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar.

“We have been able to do more based on our circumstance and the level of social infrastructure such as water and electricity available to us,’’ Okegbe said.

Dr. Okegbe however, called on Nigerians to disregard the idea that every mental health challenge was a spiritual attack as some were biologically and genetically linked.

According to him, to remain mentally sound, following the situation in the nation in the last few months, Nigerians should avoid exposure to traumatic events.

“Avoid the use of dangerous drugs and seek medical advice when necessary,” he said.

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