The Provost and Medical Director of Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr Timothy Adebowale, says the medical facility admits between 250 and 300 new patients battling mental illness monthly.
Punch reports that Adebowale disclosed this on Wednesday at a press conference and seminar organized by the hospital to mark this year’s World Mental Health Day with the theme, “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.” It held at Iwe Iroyin, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta.
The provost, who said one out of four people was likely to have mental illness in any society, added that half of all mental illness usually began at age 14, but most of the cases went undetected and untreated.
He said, “On a monthly basis, we have records of 250 to 300 patients in our hospital. I am not talking about those ones who are already with us. These are the new patients.”
Adewale identified the harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents as a major factor causing medical illness, saying it could lead to unsafe sex, dangerous driving and crimes.
The Medical Director called on the National Assembly to pass the Mental Health Bill before it in order to curb the menace in the country. He equally called for government’s investment in the education sector and evidence-based programmes for the mental health of the young people with a view to tackling the increasing rate of mental illness in the society.
He said “Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex, dangerous driving and crimes.
“Investment by governments and the involvement of social, health, education sector and the media in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential.
“This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults on ways to look after their mental health, and to help peers, parents and teachers to know how to support their friends, children and students.”