Nollywood actress, Dakore Egbuson expressed the need for a better mental health system in Nigeria. She joined 14 panellists, entertainers and subject matter experts on MTN Drug Convos, a live webinar organised by MTN Foundation’s Anti-Substance Abuse Project (ASAP) in commemoration of the 2020 World Drug Day.
She spoke on the existing stigma in Nigeria surrounding mental health and the lack of specialized personnel, like psychologists. She also spoke on the inability of the system to care for people who need help.
“Even when you do choose to see someone, you’re stigmatized – ‘oh she is going to see a shrink’ ‘oh she is going crazy’. So that demonization of people going to see a shrink is also there. It’s a very trapped system,” she added.
Dakore Egbuson then commented on the harsh economic environment and how it contributes to the growing abuse of drugs and other substances, as people are frustrated, either due to lack of jobs or insufficient care.
Psychologist Dr Yewande Oshodi, who was also on the Drug Convos panel, mentioned that there are over 180 certified psychiatrists in Nigeria, which is an approximate one psychiatrist to 1,000,000 people ratio.
She spoke on the unsustainability of the mental health care system in Nigeria and the need for more manpower and support.
The Drug Convos is an initiative of MTN Foundation in partnership with Business Day newspapers, MTV Base and Nigerian Entertainment Today (Netng) in commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking also known as ‘World Drug Day’.
Other expert speakers in attendance include Country Representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Oliver Stolpe, Country Manager ViacomCBS Networks Africa Bada Akintunde-Johnson, Director-General CADAM Adedokun Adedeji and more.