Provost and Medical Director of Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Timothy Adewale, has revealed that the renowned hospital popularly called ‘Aro’ admits between 250 and 300 new patients fighting mental illness every month.
Adewale made this revelation today at a press conference and seminar organised by the hospital to mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, with the theme, ‘Young People and Mental Health In A Changing World’, which took place in Iwe Iroyin, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta.
“On a monthly basis, we have record of 250 to 300 patients in our hospital. I am not talking about those ones who are already with us. These are the new patients.” He said.
“Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause.”
Adewale identified harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents as a key factor that leads to mental illness.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents are other major issues in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex, dangerous driving and crimes.”
He further called on government to invest in programmes that will help the mental health of young people.
“Investment by governments and the involvement of social, health, education sector and the media in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential.
“This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults on ways to look after their mental health, and to help peers, parents and teachers to know how to support their friends, children and students.” He said.