The lack of social amenities, parental care and education have been described as factors that could contribute to the vulnerabilities of street children having mental health issues.
Dr Natasha Aduluju Ajijola a public health analyst, made this known on street children a radio Nigeria network programme.
According to her, the abuse of the rights of street children, violence and social stigmatization they undergo may lead to long term mental illness and there was the need to adopt a community and multi stakeholders’ approach to address the possible trend.
“All of these different factors can influence and impact the child’s mental health. We need to work with the communities, with the local government, with the traditional leaders. In the case of children that are in the Almajiri system with their mallams and their parents so that way we can create solutions that work with the communities in which the children are living” she said.
Mr Ameh Abba from Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative, a non-governmental Organisation, explained that there was a need to improve awareness on issues of mental health as a measure to reduce stigmatization and encourage expression by children.
“let’s see how children can really understand what mental health is so that they don’t get to bully themselves, they don’t get to discriminate themselves. If people are aware that the same way your physical body can come down with sickness is the same way your mental health can come down with the sickness” he said
Mr Abba further called on relevant government organisations to put into consideration the mental health of children in their programmes to boost the confidence of children to express themselves.