The burden of mental illness in Nigeria is high. Close to 30% of its populace are affected with one form of emotional illness or the other.
Mental health issue- Depression, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is now a leading cause of mortality world wide (after heart disease and cancer). Mental Health issues constitute 6 out of 10 common illnesses that cause disabilities worldwide.
As high as this burden is, it is unfortunate that, there are no adequate manpower to manage it in Nigeria. Nigeria, as a country of about 200millions populace has just about 200 Psychiatrists (meaning a ratio of 1psychiatrist:1million populace). This, thus leaves a huge mental health gap. In addition to this, the stigma surrounding mental illness makes the sufferers not to present early to the hospitals for care but would rather patronize the local or traditional healers. Some seek spiritual help due to myths surrounding the causes of mental illness. Those who eventually make it to orthodox care centres are not able to pull through with the care as they have to pay out of their pockets (due to no budgetary allocation to mental health). As at the time of writing this report. Nigeria is unfortunately still part of the very few nations in Africa that is yet to have a new mental health law. This has in a great way affected the delivery of efficient mental health services.