Limited mental health professionals, inadequate facilities, stigma and discrimination, insufficient funding, and a lack of political commitment from the Federal Government have been identified as responsible for the challenges within the mental health landscape in Nigeria.
The was disclosed by a renowned psychiatrist, Professor Taiwo James Obindu while delivering a lecture on Mental Health in Nigeria during the training organized by Mental Health KAFE (MHKAFE) in partnership with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJIDAfrica).
He defined mental health disorders as conditions that impact an individual’s thoughts, emotions, mood, and behavior, potentially leading to distress and impairment in daily functioning.
The President of Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), further disclosed that many people at some point in their lives experience mental disorders, often without recognizing it, predicting that by the year 2030, one out of every 4 or 5 individuals in Nigeria could grapple with a mental health disorder if immediate measures are not implemented to confront the issue.
He also emphasized that mental health significantly influences both social and physical well-being, with each impacting the other in a reciprocal manner.
Quoting data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which projects that 30-60% of the global population will encounter some form of mental illness during their lifetime, Professor Obindu urged the media to remain vigilant in reporting on mental health issues.
In her welcome address, the MHKAFE Director, Deborah Adenikinju,
enjoined attendees to utilize the knowledge gained from the training to contribute towards addressing mental health concerns in Nigeria.
She stressed the importance of ethical and respectful reporting on mental health conditions to promote understanding and empathy noting that the media has a deep impact on shaping public perceptions.
The highlight of the training was the launch of the Mental Health Toolkit for Journalists by MHKAFE, that aims to provide valuable resources for responsible and sensitive reporting on mental health matters.