BENIN CITY – The Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Benin in collaboration with partners on Friday, October 9, 2020, drew attention to the present prevalence of mental health disorders in society as it marked the World Mental Health Day with the theme, “Mental Health for all: Greater investment, greater access (Everyone, everywhere).
In his keynote address, Medical Director, Federal Neuro- Psychiatric Hospital Benin, Dr. Imafidon Agbonile said the theme for this year’s event was apt against the backdrop of the COVID 19 pandemic which, “Altered or disrupted our way of life,” thereby making more people prone to anxiety or depression, mental disorders.
Speaking through his representative, Dr. Bawo James, Agbonile observed that the, “Economic recession, social upheavals and increased mortality from the virus has accumulated staggering evidence that mental health problems are on the rise globally in exponential numbers.”
He stated that the news media was now replete with tales of, “Mothers killing their children, fathers taking their lives, adolescents resorting to drugs to cope, widespread fear and insecurity preventing persons from living peacefully or seeking decent employment,” hence the need to focus attention on mental health. He decried associated stigma and continued pretense of it’s non existence of mental health disorders which he opined would lead to the peril of society.
Enlightening on the present spike in anxiety disorder and depression in society, the mental health expert lamented, “While the bulk of limited resources are allocated to healthcare interventions for the body, very little is allocated for interventions or prevention efforts for the mind.”
He nonetheless advocated for, “Mental health care availability at the primary healthcare (PHC) level based on the successful intervention of the World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Program (MhGAP) which has proved that scaling up services at these level through capacity building for health professionals can make a huge difference in increasing access.”
Speaking on the need to scale up mental care facilities in the state, he revealed, “In Edo State for example, only one psychiatrist works at the secondary level of care, this together with few psychiatric nurses, social workers and such. This tells us of the current parlous state of mental services.”
Calling on Society to set aside stigma associated with mental health disorders, the medical personnel contrary to general belief defined mental health as, “A state of balance within oneself and within the environment; the overall way that people get along harmoniously in their families, at school, workplace and their communities.
Other presenters including a speaker who revealed his personal struggle with depression and anxiety with the attendant medical interventions put in place to manage his disorder, encouraged people to know their stressors and the limit of their endurance, as well as talking on the need to confide in a trusted person and seek medical interventions based on statistics which presently posit that seven in every ten adults presently suffer from a mental disorder.
They called for a better awareness of mental health conditions and disorders as well as call on the federal government to sensitize on mental health and employ more psychologists and psychiatrists to help manage this condition in addition to going back to our communal way of life where people looked out for and cared for one another.