It is extremely hard to have a family member with mental health illness in Nigeria, societal stigma is just one hurdle, another one is people making up all sorts of reasons they think one has mental health problem, most of the reasons has one denominator – village enemy. Bigger challenge I think is not knowing where to go for help.
There are so many projects going on in Osun state but this rehabilitation project is highly commendable. I first read this detailed article last month about O’Rehab, the government apparently is working with five different psychiatry units in SW. They follow what they termed 4 Rs – retrieval, rehabilitation, repatriation and re-integration.
It is also good to know that patients are being helped with technical training to help integrate them into the society.
‘The Ilobu rehab center of the scheme trains healed patients on diverse vocational skills like soap making, bead making, tailoring, hair dressing and various crafts after they would have been treated”
Understanding of mental health is pretty bad, I know we have a long way to go, but state government taking active steps to help people off the streets is a massive step forward to get people talking about mental health, its prevalence and understanding of different types there are.
Here is a very good example to shows how mental health patients are treated even by their own family:
“We presently have the case of a 29-year-old female lawyer who after law school and service, developed a mental challenge and we picked her up, it was during rehabilitation that we discovered that she is the daughter of a renowned person in the society but we can’t mention names. The father showed up and said it was when her trouble became too enormous and she became a threat to them that he abandoned her to her helpless mother who took her to churches where she was chained and which aggravated her condition.”
I appreciate that this example is used, there are too much that is packed in that paragraph. It shows how even a family member can easily pushed their own kin out of ignorance.
I am also glad to read that the state has started to clamp down on what they called Unqualified Rehabilitation Homes In Osun. Apparently one was found along Iwo-Osogbo road a few days ago and they have confirmed the premises is unacceptable.
“… the Government has moved fast to evacuate the emaciated mentally challenged persons who were found to be in different deplorable states of health to its facilities at the state hospital and rehabilitation home while the State Police Command continues with its full investigations.” Osun.gov.ng
I am elated to read this. These unqualified rehabilitation homes is non other than faith homes and traditional healers. The condition people are exposed to is appalling, people are chained and heavily drugged.
This is progress that should make us all happy.
Here are the 5 hospitals that Osun state has partnered with to help treat people with mental health illness from Osun:
- Ladoke Akintola University of Technology teaching hospital, Ogbomosho
- Obafemi Awolowo University teaching hospital, Ile Ife
- Yaba Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos
- Aro Psychiatric Hospital in Abeokuta
- Government Hospital, Asubiaro Osogbo
It is always nice to read of good progress that touches hearts from home. More power to everyone working on this scheme.