Nigeria: Enugu hosts the opening of the American Institute for Mental Health

Apr 18, 2024 | Health | 0 comments

A new initiative in mental health care has emerged from Nigerian medical professionals in the USA, specifically those specialising in psychiatry, psychology, advanced nursing practice in psychiatry, and licenced professional counselling. They have established the Nigeria-American Institute for Mental Health, aiming to address critical mental health issues in Nigeria.

The launch event, themed “Towards Primary Mental Healthcare System,” took place at the Peter Mbah Law Auditorium, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

Dr. Azubike Aliche, president of the Nigerian Mental Health Practitioners USA, delivered the keynote address. He focused on the changes needed in Nigeria’s mental healthcare system and highlighted nine key areas for improvement. He also stressed the need to dispel cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness and promote awareness and education.

Drawing attention to the alarming statistics provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Aliche stressed the urgency of reducing the prevalence of mental health challenges in Nigeria. He identified various factors contributing to the current state of mental healthcare, including inadequate resources, lack of trained professionals, and societal misconceptions.

The event also featured a paper titled “The Path We Chose,” presented by Mr. Tunde Ipinmisho, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria-American Institute for Mental Health. Ipinmisho outlined the motivations behind the institute’s establishment and outlined plans for training, research, advocacy, and collaboration with local universities to improve mental healthcare in Nigeria.

Prof. Christian Aneke, the Vice-Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, highlighted the widespread impact of mental health challenges on Nigerian society. He emphasised the need to implement ideas proposed by professionals and called for a comprehensive approach to addressing mental health issues.

Chief Lolo Kate Uzoamaka Ezeofor, leader of Umuada Igbo Nigeria and Diaspora, underscored the importance of addressing mental health as a community and advocated for inclusivity and support for those affected.

Prof. Emmanuel Obi, the Commissioner of Health in Enugu State, emphasised the role of individuals in promoting mental well-being and urged for government support in expanding mental healthcare services to all levels of society.

The event included a panel discussion on mental healthcare featuring various experts and moderated by Eze (Prof) Ekele Alphonsus Ngwadom. This provided a platform for further dialogue and engagement on this critical issue.

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