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Maintaining child mental health by Samuel Jekeli



In Makurdi, Benue State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo strikes a chord with many Nigerian children mental health

By Samuel Jekeli

Being mentally healthy for a child entails reaching developmental and emotional milestones and learning healthy social skills on how to cope when there are challenges.

Mentally sound children have a positive attitude to life and can function well at home, in school, and in the society at large. Children with mental health conditions could experience widespread human rights violations, discrimination and stigma.

More than 80% of people experiencing mental health conditions, including individuals experiencing neurological and substance use disorders, are without any form of quality and affordable mental health care.


Until the mental environment of a child is catered for through proper and correct mentorship, the life of such child will gradually become a threat to the existence of mankind and creation in general, due to the fact that such a child will be devoid of the mental nutrients needed to spice up a meaningful life and lifestyle.

A major puppeteer plaguing majority of the Nigerian children is illiteracy. It has provided a platform for child abuses and gross violation of the child’s right.

According to the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, “Nigeria accounts for more than one in five out-of-school children anywhere in the world”. Although primary education is officially free and compulsory in Nigeria, only about 67 per cent of eligible children take up a place in primary school. It has also been noticed that if a child misses school for even a short time, there is only a low chance of about 25 percent that the child will ever return.

Despite several agitations for the need for the rights to mental health for children in the Sokoto region of Nigeria to be respected, disturbing cases of child abuses, Child Substance abuse, Child Depression and Child malnutrition continue to trend with the northern states taking the lead in the country’s records which of poor compliance with the stipulations of the Universal Health Coverage which in turn messes with the mental health of every child who falls victim of any of the mentioned mishaps.

It should be noted that for every child whose mental health is neglected, such a child will end up becoming an adult who will be a bane not just to his/her immediate environment, but also to the entire community by extension.


Although several organizations are out to ensure that child health, in accordance with the stipulations of the Universal Health Coverage is achieved, the individuals, care-givers, religious leaders as well as the subnational governments should prioritize the attention given to mental health in order to improve the well-being of children who will eventually become adults.

It is better to catch them while they are young, than to try to bend them when they are old. Until meeting Universal Health Coverage is pursues assiduously, health issues would continue to compound.

Samuel Jekeli writes from Centre for Social Justice, Abuja

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