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J Child Adolesc Ment Health. 2016;28(1):47-70. doi: 10.2989/17280583.2016.1144607.

Towards school mental health programmes in Nigeria: systematic review revealed the need for contextualised and culturally-nuanced research.

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a Department of Behavioural Medicine , Lagos State University College of Medicine Ikeja , Lagos Nigeria.



School-based mental health programmes, a potential avenue to reach many children and youth, are not yet developed in Nigeria. In view of the importance of cultural nuances in mental health issues, initial groundwork towards the establishment of these programmes in Nigeria must be cognizant of cultural peculiarities at the outset.


The objective of the study was to critically examine, through the lens of transcultural psychiatry, all the currently available epidemiological studies and needs assessments relevant to school-based mental health programmes in Nigeria.


The study was a systematic review of relevant studies available from MEDLINE, Science Direct, PsychInfo, Google Scholar, and AJOL databases.


This review shows that there is an ongoing effort at documenting the burden of mental health problems and risks, resource needs, and the available resource and capacity for school-based mental health programmes in Nigeria. However, generally speaking these epidemiological data and needs assessments are significantly limited in epistemological philosophy and cultural contextualisation. This was evidenced by a preponderance of non-representative data, quantitative assessments, and decontextualised interpretation of results and conclusions.


Going forward, recommendations are offered for culturally-nuanced epidemiology and the direction is set for context-appropriate needs assessments for school-based mental health programmes in Nigeria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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