“My mum thought it was something spiritual from her side of the family. So they took me for prayers with the hope that I’d be cured of whatever was wrong,” he advised CNN.
“My aunt advised my dad that they should take me to camp for prayers against evil spirits. I remember I was laying down on the ground and people were all over me praying. I didn’t want to react but the prayer wasn’t working,” Godwin mentioned.
He added that once they realized on the way in which again residence from camp that the anticipated therapeutic did not occur, they introduced in one other pastor to wish for him at residence.
At the time Godwin was 18 and he remembers being overwhelmed with worry, listening to voices and crying in misery.
“I felt irritation all over my body. The sound of the fan in the room made me paranoid, I felt like it was rolling too fast and it would cut off and kill me. There were so many confusing voices talking to me in my head,” he mentioned.
Godwin’s household physician ultimately referred him to a specialist after listening to about his signs, “that’s when we went to the psychiatric hospital,” he mentioned.
In his case, he was later identified with paranoid schizophrenia and positioned on medicine. “I was so relieved to know what was going on with me. My parents too were relieved knowing it was nothing spiritual,” he mentioned.
Chained and locked up
A 22-year-old girl who suffered a psychological well being disaster after her mom’s dying advised the human rights group that she had been held captive in a church for 5 months and denied meals as a part of a “spiritual cleanse” for her situation.
Dr. Nancy Orjinta, a resident psychiatrist on the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Lagos, mentioned holding folks with psychological sickness in such services can influence their well being negatively and harm their vanity.
“I have seen patients who were chained for months battle with self-esteem issues. Keeping someone locked up will not only harm them physically, but they will start to feel low and dehumanized too,” she mentioned. She added that such circumstances can result in post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), an nervousness dysfunction brought on by traumatic or distressing occasions.
Not sufficient psychiatrists
One of the explanations folks go to spiritual and conventional therapeutic facilities for psychological sickness is a lack of expertise of psychological well being points within the nation, in line with Dr. Orjinta.
However, delaying psychological care by not instantly going to hospital prolongs the time the affected person stays with out applicable care and “may create the worst outcome for the patient as they have more symptoms,” she mentioned.
“There is still a stigma around mental illness. People perceive it in a negative light and as a result they don’t want to address it if they have symptoms. They want to keep on hiding it,” she defined.
“There is a disproportionate sharing of mental health professionals, we don’t really have them in rural areas. And if someone lives in such areas without mental health care, of course, they will find alternatives for care like traditional healers or churches,” Dr. Orjinta defined.
Clampdown on rehabilitation facilities
In current instances, authorities in Nigeria have rescued tons of of individuals held underneath inhumane circumstances in a clampdown on spiritual rehabilitation facilities.
But psychological well being advocates say this isn’t sufficient.
Hauwa Ojeifo, a psychological well being activist and coach advised CNN that Nigeria wants robust laws that can set the requirements for psychiatric therapy.
Under the act, folks with psychological well being circumstances are allowed to be detained, even with out the availability of medical therapy.
“I don’t just want any mental health bill to be passed. I am very particular about the content of the bill too. I want it to be respectful and accommodate the rights of persons with mental health conditions,” she advised CNN.
Mental well being consciousness
Mental well being consciousness is required to fight the widespread use of non secular and conventional therapeutic facilities for psychological care, in line with Dr. Orjinta.
“The media needs to come in to report mental health without framing it in a bad or scary way like some do. The same way you can say someone has a problem with his leg, you should be able to say someone has a brain problem. It should be like every other illness,” she mentioned.
She added that she is optimistic Nigeria will ultimately get to a spot the place there’s a minimal stigma relating to psychological well being. “It won’t be drastic and it will require many people like the government, media, and religious institutions putting in the effort, but I am optimistic.”
Godwin who was initially taken to church for prayers says care exterior medical services shouldn’t be the primary resort.
“There are drugs and medical facilities that can help with mental illness. I am not saying people who attribute it to spirituality are wrong, but I’d say there are other ways. Medicine is capable,” he mentioned.
He added that in his case, he wished he was taken to the hospital first for faster prognosis, earlier than being subjected to spiritual therapeutic.