Dr Shehu Sale, a Consultant Psychiatrist, has advised Nigerians to report persons with mental ailment early at recognised health facilities.
Sale, who is also the Medical Director of Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH), Kware, Sokoto State, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Sokoto.
The psychiatrist said that early report and diagnosis of mental ailments would help to curtail the number of rising cases in the country.
He pointed out that mental cases were on the increase in the country because they were hardly reported at the right hospitals and at the right time as most people patronised traditional healers first.
According to Sale, mental cases can be easily controlled if such cases are taken to the right hospitals in good time for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Sale, who is also an associate professor and master trainer with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), decried the stigma associated with mental health, saying it discourages people from seeking medical help.
He said that plans were underway to establish a family health clinic to address stigma with an aim to reduce stigma and other associated public perceptions in relation to mental health.
The consultant expressed confidence that the clinic, when established, would help strengthen mental health delivery.
He added that in the meantime, the hospital has sponsored enlightenment campaigns on mental health and stigma in Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and other states as a project.
He traced the cause of mental health to drug abuse, depression, hardship or hereditary, but maintained that it could be cured if it was detected and treated early.