Weekly Tweet Chat; Sociopolitical interactions of mental health in Nigeria with Mr Oluwaferanmi Adeyemo

The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative held another batch of weekly tweet chat with  Mr Oluwaferanmi Adeyemo, a #mentalhealth first-aider & Founder of WecareNG @Wecare_ng as our quest.  We discuse on the topic “Sociopolitical interactions of mental health in Nigeria”

For us to understand the concept of the topic and have the idea of the discussion we will give a definition on “Sociopolitical” According to merriam-webster Dictionary “Socio-political systems and problems involve a combination of social and political factors. …sociopolitical issues such as ecology and human rights.”

question1 @Wecare_ng

“What are the social determinants of mental health in Nigeria?”

“Mental health and many common mental disorders are shaped to a great extent by the social, economic, and physical environments circumstances in which we live at different life stages.

economic factors include deprivation, poverty, inequality, and unemployment, while examples of physical environment circumstances are stressors such as the death of a loved one, separation/divorce, changing schools, job loss, exposure to natural disasters and insurgencies. etc.

Summarily, #mentalhealth in Nigeria is heavily associated with social inequalities that needs urgent actions that will greatly improve the conditions of both physical and mental health of all.”

Question2 @Wecare_ng

What can you say about the political context of mental health care in Nigeria?

Since early 1960s, mental health care in Nigeria has been battling with policy famine which is hindering the provision of mental health services, facilities, funding, professionals and support by all.  Until recently, the political context and involvement in mental health is insignificant, looking at the proportion of political will, financial commitments, delivery of mental health services and the protection of the human rights of persons with mental disorders in Nigeria. Despite the recent move for a mental health act in Nigeria, there is no public information on the assessments taken to measure the gap on the formulation and implementation of the lunacy act of 1958 and the Mental health policy document of 1991. The inability to measure existing mental health policy formulation gap will continue to affect the mechanisms for strengthening mental health systems in Nigeria as well as how to integrate mental health into primary health care as a new policy objective.

Question3 @Wecare_ng

As the public hearing of the #mentalhealth & substance abuse bill comes up on February 17,  what are your major concerns on decision-making processes that may affect mental health #service delivery in Nigeria?

One major concern is about the required intersectoral collaboration between the to create a Directorate for Mental Health at the Federal Ministry of Health instead of establishment of a National Council for Mental health and Substance Abuse Services This will reduce financial burdens as well as enhance implementation, monitoring and accountability strategies.  

Other stakeholders, individuals and organization also contributed to the discussion stating their point and view about the di

Afropsych @AfropsychNow (Responding to question 1 “What are the social determinants of mental health in Nigeria?”)

 “Unfortunately, Nigeria do not have good health care system for people with mental health conditions in the urban areas talk more of those in the rural areas, cultural and religious values and myths, Ignorance and the lackadaisical attitude towards Mental health in general.”

Mr Bashiru Oyewole @BashiruOyewole also contribute to question 1; that “Mental Health unfortunately has not been advocated for well enough in the Nigerian Society, probably because of Religious doctrines, SocioEconomic Challenges and/or Family Challenges.. When Social issues are not addressed, the mind may be at the receiving end”

Mr Bashiru Oyewole contributing to Question 2, he said “The Political context of mental health care in Nigeria is poor, probably because many politicians do not see the immediate financial profit in investing in the Mental Health Act. We need to educate our Politicians and Policy makers on the rising need to prioritize Mental Health.”

Taiwo Lateef Sheikh @TaiwoSheikh contributed to Question 3.

He said If we understand the burden of mental illness, substance use related disorders and psychosocial disabilities, we surely understand the need for a separate agency for mental health and substance abuse. Understanding the burden of HIV lead to creation of NACA!

Under estimating HIV would have lead to creation of a “directorate” for HIV! Money spent on mental health, substance abuse and psychosocial disabilities is an investment. Our smaller Neighbour has Ghana Mental Health Authority, USA has NIMH!

The interaction of sociopolitical factors are key to development and policy making process.. let us hear your view in the comment section