Monday, October 25, 2010

A Worldly Issue: Mental Health

I recently read an article about a noticeably high increase in mental health cases in Nigeria. The Chief Medical Director of the General Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Abeokuta said that the rise has been linked to the angst and depression that can often be associated with poverty-stricken nations that live in very harsh economic environments. The CMD, Dr. Ogunlesi, has been spending his time as of late campaigning for an increase in mental health centers across the country. Dr. Ogunlesi has raised the point that to consider general health without recognizing mental health is impossible.

Dr. Ogunlesi suggests, “There is, therefore, an urgent need more than ever before, to develop health care delivery systems which efficiently integrate physical and mental health services.” He went on to explain that the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently recommending that primary healthcare providers address physical and mental health problems. This in turn would call on “government health planning authorities at national, state and local government levels to pay close attention to the importance of this issue in setting up services.”

What I want you all to get out of this information is that it is obvious mental health is a global issue. We often hear of worldly physical issues – dysentery, malaria, etc. This is truly the first time I have seen mental health referenced in regards to a poverty stricken country.

I think the interesting point to make is that mental health is not an issue isolated to the United States. Mental health needs to be addressed all over the world. Mental health often causes physical health issues due to the inability to take care of oneself and/or self-medication by substance abuse.

I encourage you to check out area of the World Health Organization’s website that is dedicated to mental health. WHO has posted a lot of very helpful and encouraging information about where they hope to see the future of mental health. Among this information is their plan to integrate mental health into primary care.

Read it, and let me know your thoughts!


1 comment:

  1. This brings us back to the point that mental illness does not discriminate.

    It is found across all races and geographical areas, all sexes and social classes. Mental illness has as many faces as people in this world.

    This article makes me curious about how the rates of mental illness have been affected by the recession here in the United States. Financial strains definitely increase stress. I would infer that this would increase mental illness. This is also even more devastating since mental health is being cut more than ever. So it seems counter intuitive: if indeed incidence and prevalence of MI is increased, why are services being cut?