Number of persons with mental illness increasing – Doctors

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARDs), on Monday, observed that there is an increasing number of persons with mental health issues in the country.

Roland Aigbovo, the Chairman of the Abuja chapter, said this at a news conference to herald the association’s 2019 Annual Health Week and General Meeting/Scientific Conference in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the 2019 Annual Health Week is: “Neglect of Mental Health: A Threat to the Society”.

Mr Aigbovo said there was the need to address mental health issues in the country.

He explained that the mental health situation was further worsened by the non-availability of medicines, absence of mental health services at the primary healthcare level and
other services.

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He listed other services to include: counselling, housing and support groups, which he said were also lacking.

He said that the mental health issue required immediate action, noting that with the recent suicidal episodes in the country, it behooved on the citizenry to have a rethink on their general attitude to the menace.

Mr Aigbovo said that the sub-themes for the conference included current management of clinical depression, physicians’ burnout and its implication on healthcare delivery.

He said “we also want to draw the attention of both government and the public to another important but hugely ignored aspect of healthcare services, which is physicians’ burnout.

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“Our duties as physicians put us at risk of varying health challenges ranging from hypertension, anxiety, psychosis, drug and substance abuse and ultimately suicide.

“We are made to attend to varying number of patients on a daily basis and work for over 24 hours straight in many instances.”

He noted that this had direct consequence on the quality of services rendered and made members prone to avoidable mistakes.

He said burnout could directly be linked to undesirable consequences like higher medical errors, malpractice risk, and higher physician and staff turnover.

The chairman added that increased mental disorders was another undesirable consequence.

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(NAN)

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