Expert urges increased investment in mental health

Dr Motunrayo Oyelohunnu, the Medical Director, Olive Prime, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has urged Federal Government to increase investment in mental health for proper understanding of the medical condition.

Oyelohunnu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

She said increased investment would help to improve access to quality mental healthcare and effective treatment, as well as reduce stigma associated with the ailment.

She added that “if government can increase investment in mental health, it will go a long way to improve research to identify new treatment options, and improve on existing treatments for all mental disorders.”

The medical director said that in 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched
the Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023).

She explained that the Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health would ensure access to quality and affordable care for mental health conditions in 12 priority countries to 100 million more people.

According to her, majority of persons with mental disorders pay for mental health services which mostly are out of pocket for services.

Oyelohunnu said that many mental health conditions could be effectively treated at
relatively low cost, yet the gap between people needing care and those with access to care remained substantial.

“Effective treatment coverage remains extremely low,’’ she said.

The doctor said that Mental, Neurological and Substance (MNS) use disorders accounted
for nine out of the 20 leading causes of years lived with disability worldwide and 10 per cent of the global burden of the disease.

She said it had been estimated that the cumulative global impact of mental disorders in terms of lost economic output would amount to 16 trillion dollars over the next 20 years.

According to her, individuals with mental disorders will continue to face indifferent or outright prejudice by the communities and societies they live in.

She said that in Nigeria, only one out of every five persons with mental disorder was able to access care.

“The treatment gaps are due to unavailability of services, and the lack of financial means to pay for such services.

“In Nigeria and other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), out-of-pocket payments remain the most common mode of procuring health care service,’’ she said. (NAN)


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