Economic Hardship: Psychiatrist Urges Nigerians on Social Support


Economic Hardship: Psychiatrist Urges Nigerians on Social Support


A Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan, Olayinka Omigbodun, has urged Nigerians to see their neighbours as their brothers who deserve support, care and attention. This according to her, would help in confronting psychosocial disabilities.

Noting that the current economic hardship is telling on people in different ways, Prof. Omigbodun, enjoined the people to give a little more support to one another, noting that efforts like that will go a long way in tackling psychosocial disabilities in many people.

Omigbodun, who is the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) and Principal Investigator, SUCCEED Africa Project, gave the advice shortly after the presentation of a stage play to engage community and local stakeholders on some of the findings from the project.

SUCCEED stands for Support Comprehensive Care for persons with Psychosocial Disabilities.

She disclosed that many people have become suddenly irrational and developed changed behavioural pattern and attitude at home and in the workplace due to hardship, but that with little support and encouragement from people nearby, such psychosocial disabilities could be permanently addressed.

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She said: “You know everybody has a breaking point. So what I want us to see as Nigerians is that we should be one another’s keeper. These are difficult times, if you have a little bit more, look for somebody to support, that’s what I have been trying to practice. You can’t be living in your house and eating and people are hungry, so look for people to support.”

“And then, if people are aggressive or they are irritable, find out. Like in the office, maybe they don’t have money to go home, maybe they don’t have food to eat, or they don’t know where the next meal is coming from. So I think for now we need to support one another, we need to be patient more than ever before because people are going through difficult times,” Omigbodun appealed.

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She explained that the focus of the Succeed Nigeria Project is carrying out what the needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities are and the best ways to intervene and improve their lives, noting that through co-production, the project seeks to develop and design a comprehensive package of care that will help people with psychosocial disabilities.

Omigbodun disclosed that the study is called ‘Succeed Africa’ funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom government, with four study countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and coordinating partner in the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, in the United Kingdom, saying SUCCEED means Support Comprehensive Care for Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities.

She stated: “One of the things central to this programme is what we call co-production. We are trying to design a comprehensive package of care that will help people with psychosocial disabilities, that is, the people with lived experience of psychosis and severe mental illness for low and middle income countries. What co-production means is that right from the onset, working with us, partners’ equal partners.”

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“We have people who have experienced psychosis themselves, people who have been managed for psychosis, and people who are on medication and receiving care. So, we are working as partners to develop this comprehensive programme for people with lived experience, and that’s the best way I discovered because I have been in psychiatrist since 1987,” the professor revealed.

Omigbodun explained that her eyes have been opened to what is called co-production in the last four years since the project started.

She added that the grant has three main arms, including the research arm, capacity building arm and communication and research optics arm.


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