A Consultant Psychiatrist in Anambra Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Dr Chukwuweta Onuorah, has called for the establishment of more mental health hospitals in the State and the recruitment of more man power.
Onuorah who made the call during an interview with Newsmen said there are inadequate mental health facilities and man power in mental health hospitals to attend to over five million people living in the Anambra State.
The consultant said that the State has only 37 bed spaces in the hospital to attend to over 1, 000 patients that sought their services on monthly basis.
The psychiatrist described the experience as insufficient and that it hinders effective service delivery to patients.
“The mental health sector in the country needs an uplift; it is not only in Anambra that the inadequacies exist, in fact some states do not even have a mental health outfit at all.
“There is urgent need for more mental health hospitals and good enumeration for health workers in the country so as to take care of the increasing level of brain drain in the health sector,’’ he said.
The consultant call for mental health units in all teaching hospitals especially in the State instead of only having Out Patience Department, in order to make mental health workers perform optimally.
“There is shortage of staff and facilities to man and care for patients, so there is urgent need to attend to the needs of the mental health facilities for effective medical care,’’ he stated .
He said that poor enumeration has affected the success rate of mental health.
“There’s high record of brain drain in the health sector but if the psychiatrist, nurses, consultants are well enumerated with facilities in place, the performance will be high as service delivery will increase,” he explained.
Onuorah said that in the last eight months they have treated over 8, 000 mental health patients within the age brackets of 17 years and above.
The consultant attributed the huge number to mass awareness on the patronage of mental health facility by people in need.
He said that economic decline has made it impossible for people to meet up with demands on them. Some have taken to drug abuse and some social vices which lead to depression and to a break down and in most cases lead to mental health challenges.
Onuorah said that mental health problems can occur at any age and the symptoms differ though the signs may start manifesting in persons prone to such illness between 14 to 17 years.
The psychiatrist consultant advised patients and relatives to pay close attentions to their people.