If we apply foreign standards of Mental Health like that of UK/US to Nigeria, over 50% - 80million people - would be sanctioned under the Mental Health Act, because they regularly profess to have personal unseen enemies and spirits, attribute most natural phenomenon to supernatural, are illogical and over emotional.
Little wonder that there is a higher than average percentage of Nigerian women in UK mental facilities.
If you tell an Oyinbo doctor that somebody is 'doing you' from your village, somebody stole your destiny, your enemies are pursuing you and the usual Nigerian African Magic, the doctor will most likely inject you with some mind-bending drug and the more you try to explain African Magic the likelihood is that the dosage will increase, confining you permanently in a mental institution!"
Over the last 30 years there have been 20 studies showing that people of Caribbean and African origin have an increased risk of being treated for serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and mania. The increased rate is of epidemic proportions - between five and 12 times greater than for white people. And if anything, it is getting worse.
On March 31 each year, a one-day census is carried out for all Britain's psychiatric inpatients, and the results of last year's census have just been published. Of the 32,000 people in hospital, those who defined themselves as black Caribbean and black African were over-represented by three- or fourfold. But one other group stood out - those who defined themselves as "black other". The vast majority of this group are young, British-born black people, and they were 18 times more likely to be in hospital than the British average.
It is always prudent to treat statistics with caution. Hospital admission reflects not only the amount of illness in a community but also the ability of the community to cope with that illness. For instance, in highly supportive, tight-knit communities, more people are treated at home. But it is hard to believe that this increased rate is not at least in part due to a true increase in the amount of illness. This is backed up by years of research and a recent international review, which concluded that migrants are more likely to develop mental illness. But the risk is doubled in black migrants to white countries, and the risk is increased again in their children. It seems that it is not about migration alone or being black - it is about being black in a white country. The rate of serious mental illness in the Caribbean and in Africa is not high, but the rate of mental illness in Britons of Caribbean and African origin is.
You can recover from a psychotic illness, but many people have long-term problems. The cost to the individual with a psychotic illness, to their family and carers and wider society, is immense. Most sufferers are unemployed and on benefit; there is an increased risk of suicide; life expectancy is lower; and their children are more likely to develop a mental illness and be taken into care.
Though we will not be able to prevent all psychosis, we should be able to prevent some of it. We know that psychotic illnesses are associated with poverty, poor education, racism, living in a city, poor obstetric care, head injuries or brain infection when you are young, childhood trauma, family break-up, and cannabis use. We know that targeting childhood and adolescence is important.
Prevention of mental illness in black communities is the sort of complex problem that should attract a high-level government inquiry that leads to action. I am used to hearing politicians say that doing nothing is not an option. This is an area where the phrase has real meaning. The high rates of mental illness in people of Caribbean and African origin are not going to go away. If anything, their legacy will blight a generation and the impact will be felt by us all.
SO What Sayeth thou to this views?
p.s Oyinbo: A slang to fondly describe anyone western, or from the first world, usually caucasian.