A Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State, Taiwo Sheikh, has warned that the scarcity of the old and new naira notes will push many Nigerians into frustration and depression.
He also said the situation would worsen the cases of suicide in the country if the Federal Government fails to urgently address the problem.
Prof. Sheikh, who is the immediate past President of the Association of Psychiatry in Nigeria, said the situation if not checked will plunge a lot of Nigerians into mental health crises that will require hospital admission amid a scarcity of manpower and infrastructure.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with journalists, the psychiatrist lamented that a lot of Nigerians are frustrated and distressed by the naira scarcity.
He noted that Nigerians no longer enjoy optimum mental well-being as a result of recent happenings in the country including fuel scarcity.
The don said, “This scarcity of naira has already increased the rate of mental illness in the country. For an adult to strip himself naked in the bank is not normal. It is no longer what you consider to be normal.
“For people to be punching each other, carrying iron to be hitting one another in front of automated teller machines just to be able to get some money is not normal.
“These are evidence of frustration and when people are frustrated, there is a kind of transferred aggression. When you cannot face what is causing the frustration then you transfer the aggression elsewhere. Most of the time, you transfer it to others. The naira scarcity is generating a lot of frustration.”
Prof. Sheikh reiterated that if the situation is not checked, the country would have more people with mental disorders.
The professor warned, “If this distressing situation and the frustration is not checked, it will lead to mental illnesses that will increase the state of suicide in the country. There is no doubt about that, one thing leads to the other.
“People will develop depression and anxiety disorder. They will become psychotic, suicidal, and homicidal. People will attack others because of the transfer of aggression, and so many things.
“For those who have mental illnesses already, their situation will worsen.”
According to the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, more than 60 million Nigerians are suffering from mental illnesses, noting that only about 10 per cent of them can access appropriate care.
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