Local Ministry Addresses Mental Illness in Nigeria

One of the women who received mental health care from the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, tends to the birds on the poultry farm under Sr. Catherine Nkereuwem’s supervision in Uyo. Source: Global Sisters Report

One in four Nigerians, about 50 million people, suffer from some sort of mental illness, according to the World Health Organization. The country is among the most depressed countries in the world.

Many with severe mental health issues are often poor, and due to poor data collection on the mental health of the population, authorities in Nigeria are hindered from developing coherent policies to address mental health. In response to this need, nuns have been stepping in to offer treatment and shelter to people in Uyo.

Since the Divine Providence Home opened in 1986, the sisters, Catholic volunteers and others have cared for more than a thousand women and men found on the streets.

The home partners with the state health ministry, which takes responsibility for drug treatments and provides an additional psychiatric nurse at the home. Nuns and priests provide support services to both patients and staff. 

Working collaboratively, the Catholic Church’s partnership is working to end the stigmas associated with mental illness that incorporate spiritual care into the well-being of all its parishioners.

Source: Global Sisters Report