1 out of 4 people likely to have mental illness – Expert



The Provost and Medical Director of Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr Timothy Adewale, says that one out of four people is likely to have mental illness in any society.

Adewale, who spoke at a press conference and seminar held to mark the 26th annual World Mental Day titled “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World,” at NUJ Secretariat in Abeokuta, disclosed that not less than 250 to 300 mentally-ill persons are admitted monthly into the hospital.

The medical expert revealed that half of all mental illness began at age 14, but that most of the cases go undetected and untreated.

“On monthly basis, we have record of 250 to 300 patient in our hospital. I am not talking about those ones who are already with us. These are the new patients,” he said.

Adewale identified harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents as a major factor causing medical illness, saying it could lead to unsafe sex, dangerous driving and crimes.

The Medical Director, therefore, called on the National Assembly to pass the Mental Health Bill before it in the interest of Nigeria.

He equally 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 tackle increase of mental illness in the society.

Adewale said “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-yearvold. 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.

“Investment by governments and the involvement of social, health, education sector and the media in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential.”

“This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults on ways to look after their mental health, and to peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students.”