Subsidized Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (STRP)

Introduction

Stigma and Discrimination are not the only issues that are face by the mentally ill; the high cost of treatment and poor services hamper timely and adequate treatment needed for the management and cure of the illness. This service gap is experienced from the perspective of both the mentally ill and health workers.

Limited budget allocation to the mental health sector poses a problem in expanding services so as to adequately meet demands. Nigeria, with a population of over 160 million people, has less than 150 practicing psychiatrists; a ratio of less than one to a thousand people. Limited research in mental healthcare is also a major concern as there is considerable dearth of information on the mental health services and effectiveness interventions. As a result, there is a significant burden of unidentified mental health needs.

Modern treatment services for mental illness is developing in Nigeria but as yet, most people have no access to it. Because treatment of mental illness is often long term, affected individuals may be unable to sustain treatment to maintain an improved mental state. Lack of finance to access professional mental health services have led most people to rely on traditional and spiritual healers, however, not before the illness must have deteriorated. These alternative treatment options recognise mental illnesses though in a limited way leading to misdiagnosis, under-diagnosis and at best, minimal proper diagnosis. Indeed, the concept of “accident of birth” plays a fundamental role here because most mentally ill people on the streets are neglected for the mere fact they have been rejected by their loved ones and exiled from their society for various reasons such as lack of finance for appropriate treatment, or societal norms and values. Mental health services should be provided throughout the health care system to enable people access them locally and affordably, only then will persons with mental disorders live productive and fulfilled lives.

Intervention

 

To alleviate the disease burden, Reconnect HDI partners with Synapse Services to provide subsidized mental health treatment options for people who would otherwise be unable to afford standard treatment. We hope this program will alleviate the disease burden and contribute to eradicating some of the current unorthodox practices. 

A look at mental health across Africa