Experts Advocate Technology Adoption To Bridge Mental Health Gap

Experts Advocate Technology Adoption To Bridge Mental Health Gap

Nigeria currently has about 150 psychiatrists to cater to the mental health needs of over 200 million people, even as mental health experts have called for the need to leverage on technology to bridge the gap.

Mental health experts made the call at a programme organised by Greyhub to commemorate the 2024 Mental Health Awareness Month in Lagos.

The chief executive officer of GreyHub Therapeutic Centre, Dr Olusola Olowookere, asserted that the ration of mental health experts to the population of country had denied many Nigerians the opportunity to have quick and easy access to mental care.

“Statistics shows that one in every four person will experience one form of mental health issue, either diagnose or undiagnose problem. In Nigeria we have about 150 psychiatrics to over 200milion people and that is why people don’t have quick and easy access to care,” he revealed.

He called for the need for the few psychiatrists in the country to leverage technology to enable more patients to have wider access to healthcare.

“With technology, patients can complete few sections online and can be screen for common mental health problem by talking to a certified therapist or psychologist online,” he recommended.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues, as well as highlighting the ways how mental illness and addiction can affect patients, providers, families, and the society at large.

Speaking on the idea behind the programme, tagged: “Wellness Wonderland”, Olowokere affirmed that the event was organised to create awareness on mental related issues, noting that mental health plays a core and important role in the overall wellness of people.

“The whole concept of this gathering is to raise awareness about emotional and mental health problem in our society. Over the years the conversation had not be heard enough and that is why we are using every space and opportunity we have to pass the message across about emotional awareness.

“This aspect of human health is centre to stigma and this has prevented a lot of people to seek help from the right people,” he said.

On the risk factors for mental health illness, the CEO revealed that various factors like family background, trauma, life experience, relationship among others, can trigger mental health issues.

The director in charge of Special Project and Mental Health at the Lagos state Ministry of Health, Dr Tolu Ajomale, said there have been increased cases of mental health issues, leading to high prevalence of suicide.

To reverse the trend, Ajomale disclosed that Lagos State has put in place measures to address mental health related issues.

“The Lagos state government has been in the forefront of addressing mental related issues.

“The state passed a mental bill in 2019 and that happens to be the first in Nigeria, as a way of providing help to people who needs it. A help line was created so that people struggling with their mental health can speak to people who can manage their issues. The state has done a lot of training for emergency medical personnel to guard them on how to de-escalate issues related to the condition,” he stated.

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