Number of distressed Nigerians rising because of Tinubu’s harsh economic policies – Psychiatrists

Taiwo Obindo, the president of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), says that more Nigerians are distressed now than before, and that may inflict mental health conditions on more Nigerians.

Mr Obindo said this in an interview on Tuesday in Lagos.

He expressed worry over the current economic hardship, coupled with the level of poverty and other social factors in the country, saying that might likely inflict mental illness on more Nigerians.

He listed the social factors as including the high cost of living, insecurity, kidnapping, financial problems, inflation, child abuse, rape, broken homes and broken marriages, traumatic experiences and degrees of violence, among others.

Mr Obindo explained that people who were predisposed to social factors were more likely to develop mental health issues, particularly during this period when the country was faced with lots of economic challenges.

Mr Obindo decried the rate of multiple taxes on small businesses and individuals, stressing the need to streamline the taxes. According to him, an average Nigerian is now disposed to more pressure and distress.

He called for intensified efforts by the federal government to release people of these pressures to safeguard the mental health of its citizens.

“I cannot say I have seen any major shift when it comes to policies, when it comes to decisions and when it comes to the health and mental health of Nigerians. Looking at the pressure on the average Nigerian, with the increasing inflation, the challenges that are happening around them, and the pressure from overtaxing them.

“One can say that an average Nigerian is put under pressure. More Nigerians are more distressed now than before. This may predispose more Nigerians to develop mental health conditions,” Mr Obindo said.

The APN president, therefore, called for swift implementation of Nigeria’s National Mental Health Act, to pave the way for adequate protection of Nigerians mental health.

He explained that then-President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the National Mental Health Act 2021 in January 2023, saying that the federal government had yet to implement that Act.

Olufunmilayo Akinola, a consultant psychiatrist who works with the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, said the policies expressed concern over the exodus of health workers to other countries and called on the government to address the driving factors responsible for the development.

According to her, the governments are doing a lot for the health sector, but they need to do more.

She lauded the government for establishing nursing and medical schools and buying equipment for the health sector, decrying that the health workers to manage the facilities were leaving the country.

“There is a mass exodus of trained and qualified health workers out of the country. This has left the Nigerian health facilities bare with consequent loss of manpower.

“What are the conditions of the hospitals? Why are doctors, nurses, and other health workers leaving? The government needs to address this.

“So, it is not just about establishing nursing and medical schools; who will teach them, because the people that will teach and manage the facilities are the ones going away,” she said.


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