Research

The mental health policy recognizes the need for research that will provide data on mental health challenges of the state and serve as a platform for proper planning of effective and accessible mental health services in the state. These researches will also serve as a way of measuring the capacity of the state’s health system, to identify gaps and opportunities for implementing mental health interventions.

Prior the establishment of the Lagos State Mental Health Law, a thorough situation analysis and needs assessment on mental health problems was conducted. Recent community studies show that the lifetime prevalence of Common Mental Health Disorders (CMD) in Nigeria is about 9% (which ultimately translates to about 2 million citizens in Lagos State alone).

The results of the studies show that:

  1. There is a high rate of clinically significant common mental health disorders, alcohol and other psychoactive substance use disorders amongst the Lagos state population.
  2. Most of these disorders are un-reported by the affected individuals and may be unrecognized by the attending physician and health workers.
  3. These disorders affect the functional ability of the affected individual, leading to many working hours and days lost.
  4. The Lagos State mental health work force have few resources and manpower and cannot effectively cope with the high rate of common mental disorders.
  5. The estimated treatment gap for CMDs – i.e. the proportion of people with these disorders who would need treatment but do not have access to mental health care – is about 85%.

Consequently, the Lagos Lunacy Act – which has its roots in the Nigerian Lunacy Law 1920 – was reviewed and repealed, and the Lagos State Mental Health Bill was signed into Law.