Recession may worsen rate of mental illness – Consultant psychiatrist


The current economic recession, which has foisted hardship on many Nigerians, may increase the rate of mental disorder if prolonged, a consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, has said.
Oyewole, who is also the national coordinator of Mental Health Awareness Foundation of Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, noted that already one out of four Nigerians suffers mental illness.
He, therefore, expressed concern over the nation’s economic doldrums.
Explaining that mental disorder, also referred to as mental illness, psychological disorder or psychiatric disorder, is a mental or behavioural pattern causing either suffering or poor ability to function mentally in ordinary life, Oyewole noted that the causes of mental illness include depression and frustration.
Speaking on a radio programme monitored by The Point in Osogbo on Tuesday, Oyewole explained further that in a situation where people could not meet their daily needs, like most Nigerians were currently experiencing, there were chances that the rate of mental disorder could increase in the country.
He said, “It may surprise you to know that one out of four Nigerians suffers from mental illness. People are mentally ill in this country. Most people are depressed and are tired of life. But people don’t know they are ill in Nigeria and they don’t take proper mental solution.
“There are socio-economic factors responsible for mental illness. When people cannot meet their daily needs, it could cause mental illness. People who are suddenly retrenched at work may also suffer mental disorder. Also, people who suffer failed relationships can also experience mental illness.
“Other causes of mental disorder include depression, dementia, schizophrenia as well as stigma and discrimination. Belief and superstition also cause mental illness.”
The mental health expert then advised relatives of people with mental health problems to visit hospitals for medical attention, while calling on Nigerians to desist from treating mental victims as outcast in the society.
The consultant psychiatrist said that they should rather be treated like those suffering from any other form of disease and accorded due respect and dignity.
He advised Nigerians to stop shifting blames on supernatural forces or relations as causes of mental illness, saying there was nothing as such.
Adewoye also asked Nigerians to be more spiritual and committed to God by going to churches and mosques in order not to fall victim of mental illness during this period of recession.
According to the consultant psychiatrist, “People are now going to church more because of this recession. It has been observed that spiritual people have sound mental health. Seek appropriate medical attention when you notice people or relations with symptoms of mental illness.
“Ensure you are alive during this recession period. If you are using three cars, park two and use only one because of maintenance bills.”