The Federal Ministry of Health says about 20 to 30 per cent of Nigeria’s about 200 million population suffer from mental illness.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said this at the Mental Health Action Committee and Stakeholders’ Workshop in Abuja on Monday.
Abdullahi said with a population of about 200 million, this implies that Nigeria has about 60 million persons with mental illnesses.
“There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterised by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others, he said.
“Mental disorders include: Depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders including autism.
“In Nigeria, an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of our populations are believed to suffer from mental disorders. This is a very significant number considering Nigeria has an estimated population of over 200 million.
“Unfortunately, the attention given to mental health disorders in Nigeria is inadequate. The level of awareness of the Nigerian public on mental health issues is also understandably poor, and with lots of misconceptions.”