Mental Illness Consultant wants NGOs to educate public on condition

The Neuropsychiatric consultant said 50 per cent of mental illnesses were curable if patients were given early professional psychiatric treatment.

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Living with mental illness

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Dr George Eze, a consultant at the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH) Neuropsychiatric Department, has challenged NGOs and faith-based organisations to educate the public on mental illness challenge and recovery.

He gave the charge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Enugu.

He said 50 per cent of mental illnesses were curable if patients were given early professional psychiatric treatment.

He added that “with my 33 years in the field consulting in and outside the country, I have found out that there is 50 per cent chance for those with mental challenges recovering to live their normal lives.’’

He advised families and communities to take mentally-ill persons or those who with partial disconnect to the hospital instead of making them objects of negative discourse and ridicule.

Eze said stigmatisation was the major hindrance to early report and cure of mental illnesses in the country.

“Our greatest undoing is that most families and communities hide those they should help by not bringing them to neuropsychiatric hospitals and clinics to receive prompt and professional medical attention.

“Some even create special places they keep their brothers and sisters with such
challenges and confine them for the rest of their lives; thus, compounding their health challenges.’’

Eze, a former Enugu State Commissioner for Health, advised that neuropsychiatric attention should be given to mentally-ill persons by professional and qualified neuropsychiatric doctors on time.

He noted that “after all, each one faces one medical challenge or the other, and those who are mentally challenged should not be an exception.”

The expert, also the founder of Initiative for the Care, Support and Rehabilitation of the Mentally Ill Destitute (INSCREMID), cautioned against engaging in extreme stressful condition, especially the type that would deprive people from rest and sleep.

He said “in this part of our world, extreme stressful situations and anxiety are major triggers to people developing mental challenges.

“That is why we (doctors) support the psycho-emotional balancing efforts of faith-based organisations to remove people from too much worries and anxiety.’’ 

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