Medical expert warns against stigmatisation of mentally retarded patients

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Nigerians have been advised to stop forthwith the stigmatisation and marginalisation of people with mental health condition.

A neuro-psychiatric consultant with the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Dr. Auwal Salihu frowned at the manner at which people with mental health condition are treated even after receiving medical attention.

Salihu, who is also the Coordinator, Mental Health Awareness Programme, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), expressed his dissatisfaction at an enlightenment campaign in Katsina state, a northern part of Nigeria during a sensitisation programme on ‘the dangers of maltreating psychiatric patients after treatment.’

He advised traditional and religious leaders to educate people on the ways to embrace patients of mental illness after treatments.

Salihu disclosed that there were three types of mental illness; manifesting mild, moderate and severe mental problems.

“The mental illness can be psychological, social disorder or self induced mental case through the intake of illicit drugs. Mental illness can also be caused by genetic factor, environment, infection, parent’s style, stress, depression and sleep disorder,” he said, adding that it can be treated through the identification and promotion of good mental health hygiene and therapy, rehabilitation, and drug abuse prevention.

Salihu called on youth clubs and associations to embark on enlightenment campaigns against drug abuse in the society.

He urged youths to advise friends against bad habit of drug abuse and encourage them to embrace sporting activities for good health.

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