Psychiatrist calls for support in tackling mental health challenges


A consultant psychiatric, Dr Vincent Udenze, has called for collaborative effort between the three tiers of government and wealthy individuals in tackling mental health challenges in Nigeria.

Udenze, also the Medical Director of Synapse Oak Services, Awka, made the call while inaugurating a centre for mental health services on Wednesday in Awka.

He said that there was need for the establishment of more mental health facilities to tackle the growing cases of mental illness.

According to him, several cases of metal challenges are recorded in some parts of the country.

He said that his interest in the establishment of Synapse Oak Services was to positively impact on the society via qualitative mental health services.

“My interest is to provide mental health services to the people, not solely to make money, but to restore hope and happiness to people whose future are dimed through such services,’’ Udenze said.

The consultant psychiatric said he was willing to partner the Anambra Government to tackle the rising mental cases in the area.

He said that there was need for the Federal Government to give more incentives to the psychiatric doctors in order to attract more young people into studying the course.

“There is need to encourage people to go into psychiatric training as well as educate Nigerians on the need to check their mental status.

My passion in the sector is in honor of my late father Chief Udemezue Udenze, who was a psychiatric and general nursing graduate, and practiced till he retired from service in 1994,’’ he said.

Earlier, Dr Joe Akabuike, the State Commissioner for Health, commended Udenze for establishing the facility in Awka, describing incidences of mental illness in the state as alarming.

Akabuike said that the state government has psychiatric facilities in Nawfia, Njikoka Local Government Area and rehabilitation centre in Nteje Oyi Local Government Area.

He said that in spite of the two facilities the state was still willing to go into private partnership to tackle mental health challenges.

Also, Dr Lawrence Ikeako, a former Anambra Commissioner for Health in Anambra, said that the centre was a good development, saying it will bridge the gap in the training of psychiatric personnel.

Ikeako, who was the chairman of the occasion, said that mental illness was common problem in Nigeria because governments had not shown enough interest in handling mental illness.

“Research has shown that by the year 2020 mental ill health will be so common that it will increase to the ratio of 20 to 30 per cent.

It can be as prevalent as HIV/AIDS and other popular health cases,’’ he said.

According to Ikeako, Nigeria is in sharp shortage of mental health practitioners.

He said based on the shortage, there was the need to train more mental health personnel to check the activities of quacks.