Home Health Psychiatrist gives reasons for dearth of mental health experts in Nigeria

Psychiatrist gives reasons for dearth of mental health experts in Nigeria


LAGOS – A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Emmanuel Owoyemi, on Friday attributed the dearth of mental health experts in the country to poor working conditions and stigma associated with the profession.
Owoyemi, who is the founder of Mental Health Foundation, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”8″]
According to him, mental disorders are on the increase due to the shortage of mental health personnel.
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“It is not easy to get mental health experts because they are very few in this country. “We still have less than 200 psychiatrists in Nigeria actively working.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
“There is high level of stigma in mental health; very many people don’t want to specialise in mental health because of stigma.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
“Even, we that are working there we hear so many things, people say a lot things, but because you have grown thick skin and then this is your passion, you are interested in it, you do not really care.
“So, many people are not being encouraged to specialise because of the stigma, the salary, the condition of work is not encouraging.
“So, there is really nothing encouraging to specialise in psychiatry in Nigeria. “
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Owoyemi urged the Federal Government to employ more personnel, improve the working conditions of mental health personnel and review the curriculum of medicine in tertiary institutions across the country.
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“The government of Nigeria needs to employ those that have been trained; apart from employing those that have been trained, the incentives (need to be improved).
“Then, the curriculums for people who are studying medicine have to be reversed because, people who specialise in psychiatry, I think within their years of studying medicine, have only four weeks when they go for anything that has to do with psychiatry and where they are also being given (the) opportunity to make up their mind if they want to specialise.
“So, I don’t think they really have enough time to understand what it means to even be able to have an informed decision to say okay, I want to specialise.“
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