The Adicare Rehabilitation Home, an NGO, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to extend some care and love to the mentally ill to give them sense of belonging and encourage their chances of recovery.
Mrs Veronica Eze, Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, gave the advice during a visit to some mentally ill patients on the streets of Alagbado and Sango Ota areas of Lagos and Ogun, respectively.
Eze urged the public to stop discriminating and neglecting mentally sick people, saying that they are human beings and part of the society.
She noted that caring and loving the mentally sickness patients increase their chances of recovery.
“The mentally sick people need our help and we can extend our care to them in terms of feeding, accommodation, clothing, medication, among others.
“And NGO like ours is readily available to assist in the task. The society can extend its good gesture to psychiatric patients through the NGOs. And what we do is that we care for the psychiatric destitute patients on the streets that do not have home and are helpless.
“Once in a while we go around, give them food, stay with them, clean them up and sometimes we give them clothes and medications.
“Presently, we are building a rehabilitation home where we can keep them. It is actually taking a process because of the financial implications but I am convinced we will get there because it is a mandate we have dedicated to do and am glad doing it.
“Taking on the role of caring for someone with mental illness is a big task and commitment. It can be very emotionally, financially and physically demanding.
“Since funding has been our big challenge. Therefore, we appeal to governments, organisations (both local and international), philanthropists and well-meaning Nigerians to support us,” Eze said.
Eze said the NGO had embarked on awareness campaign to educate the public on the causes, treatment and prevention of mental illness and the need to give necessary care that could aid their recovery/normal functionality.
“Unfortunately, there is this general belief that most mentally sick patients were the cause of their predicaments and as a result should be abandoned to suffer it.
“I believe that mental illness just like every other sickness is curable and can befall anyone.
“Every average human being is prone to mental problem because looking at Nigeria presently, almost everybody, every home is faced with one psychiatric condition or the other, even though it is not yet a full-blown one, but over time it can surface, it’s a time bomb.
She said that the mission of the NGO was to bridge the gap between people with mental illness and the rest of the society through a support system that aimed to correct their mental condition and integrate them fully into the society.
“I feel that the mentally sick people on the streets need our care, love and support because they do not bargain for their condition. The economic situation in the country can push people to do what they may not want to do.
“Yes, drug abuse can cause mental problem, what matters is the condition prompted the drug abuse.
“Let’s put hands together and collectively care for these people, even though you cannot take care of their medical needs, you can assist with at least foods for them to eat at a particular time because these people most often are hungry, if you have something to offer, they will reciprocate and accept you,” she said.
Secretary of the NGO, Emmannuel Eze identified lack of trust as a major obstacle because people sometimes attack the NGO when trying to help the mentally challenged on the street due to misconception that the NGO wanted to use them for rituals.
“To give the mentally sick person you are caring for the best chance of recovery, it is important that you find out how to support him/her, ” he said.
Edited by Wale Ojetimi
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