Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Lucky Onofa has bemoaned the rising cases of mental illness among Nigerian youths, disclosing that about 1.4million of them are suffering from depression.
Onofa added that though, the figure might have increased from 2015 statistics due to the prevalence of drug abuse among the youths lately.
The Psychiatrist who disclosed at the weekend while delivering a lecture titled, Mental and Emotional Health, said the number represented 20% of the 7milion Nigerians who are suffering from depression as the commonest mental illness.
The lecture was organized by Fresh Anointing International Church, Wasimi, Ogun state for the church’s youths and others from the neighbouring communities.
He identified increase in drinking of alcohol and exposure to psychoactive substance such as cannabis, cocaine and energy stimulants among others by the youths to derive sexual satisfaction as responsible for the rising mental health challenges.
He therefore called on religious bodies and parents to be more vigilant and identify any strange behaviour in their children, saying early detection of warning signs of drug abuse could help combat any form of depression.
Depression is one of the commonest mental disorders in our society today. According to 2015 statistics, about 300million people around the world are suffering from depression. In Nigeria alone, about 7million people which represent 43% of the people suffering from depression and drug abuse in the country and should be looked into.
“Depression leads to suicide and anything that causes self-guilt, religious guilt, should be avoided. There’s increase in alcohol consumption, cannabis, cocaine and peer group pressure among the youths which has recorded to about 1.4million youths suffering from mental problem.
“Therefore, to be out of this menace, only total abstinence not prayer can solve the effects of drug abuse in our society. The youths should run away from any psychoactive substances and desist from using energy stimulator to derive sexual satisfaction,” he said.
He also lamented the inadequate mental health practitioners to the rising population of mental health patients in the country and called for more collaboration between the professionals and traditional mental health healers.
He said in order to curb mental illness among the people; there must be multi-sectoral approach by engaging the traditional healers on evidence based practice.
He explained that, as a result of the Nigerians cultural belief that mental disease are caused by supernatural powers, there is need for more public awareness and education on the preventive control of the menace.
In his own submission, the General Overseer, Fresh Anointing International Church, Dr. Adegoke Itiola urged Christian leaders in the country not to subject victims of drug abuse or mental illness to prayers alone, but engage the service of mental health practitioners.
Pastor Itiola said in order to inculcate right morals into the youths; there should be a forum where they would be sensitized on the adverse effects of drug abuse.
Itiola who is also the President of Leadership Education for African Pastors, called for prayers for newly appointed federal ministers to perform well.
He said: “Buhari knows what he is doing with the appointment of the Ministers. He believes they can do it. Everybody should pray for them. Our prayer is for them to do the right thing.” (The Nation)