4.2% Of Nigerians Suffer Depression-Nigerian Medical Association
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said 4.2% of Nigerian population suffer depression and this figure does not exclude children.
The President of the association, Prof. Mike Ogirima, who stated in Abuja observed that in Nigeria, the average loss in earning among mentally ill patients was about N60,126 which translates to about 40% of GDP per capital in 2002.
“Studies show that 78% of Nigerians will be upset working with someone with mental illness and 83% would be ashamed if people knew they have a relative with mental illness.”
“This translates to an annual loss of 21.6 billion naira for one country,”Despite the heavy socio-economic burden caused by depression, Nigeria do not have a mental health policy that has been implemented and with the exception of a few states Lagos.”
“About 800,000 people commit suicide every year and 85% of all suicides occur in LMIC. 90% of people who commit suicide have Mental Health issues with depression as the leading cause in Nigeria. Suicide is increased 4 fold among those with anxiety disorders, 6 fold among those with substance use disorders and listen to this, 18 fold among persons with depression,”
“Recent incidents in Lagos must draw our attention to the fact that there are many other who commit suicide and die unnoticed.”
“A mental health policy properly implemented will address neglect of Mental Health services, improve community ignorance of Mental Health issues and redress the delay in accessing health services,”Prof Ogirima said.
“According to him most local government areas in Nigeria have no organized mental health programme for its citizens. A national strategy to address mental health problems in Nigeria by governments at all levels is needed, one which should lay emphasis on prevention.”
“We will work closely with the National Assembly to pass a comprehensive bill on mental health in Nigeria as part of our corporate responsibility to mental health community and the society at large. “We commend the interest of some members of NASS for trying to resuscitate the bill.” Ogirima said
“We must ensure that stigma and misconception about depression do not replace medicine.” Ogirima noted that the day afforded the union the opportunity to reflect and internalise the great opportunities offered by the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to Nigerians, particularly those with mental health challenges.”
According to him, unless the society embraces and openly talks about depression, there is high chance of driving such people to extreme hopelessness and despair which can lead to deliberate self harm and suicide.