Abeokuta — The management of Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday disclosed that the medical facility admits over 36,000 patients suffering from mental illness every year, adding that one out of four persons in the society suffers mental illness.
The disclosure was made by the Provost and Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Timothy Adewale, at a press conference organised in Abeokuta to mark this year’s World Mental Health Day with the theme: ‘Young people and Mental Health in a changing world.’
The medical expert revealed that going by statistics, half of all mental illnesses begin at age 14, while most of the cases go undetected and untreated. He said: “On a monthly basis, we have record of 250 to 300 patients in our hospital. I am not talking about those ones who are already with us. These are new patients.”
He identified harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents as a major factor causing mental illness, saying it could lead to unsafe sex, reckless driving and crimes. Adewale, therefore, called on the National Assembly to pass the Mental Health Bill without delay in the interest of Nigerians before the situation gets out of hand.
He also called for government’s investment in social, education sector and evidence-based programmes for the mental health of the young people with a view to tackling increase of mental illness in the society.
Adewale said: “Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex, dangerous driving and crimes.”