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Alcohol and memes: How young Nigerian men deal with mental health challenges in the face of poor access and utilization of professional support

Fidel B. Nnadi
Emmanuel O. Ugwu
Ifechukwu H. Nwabineli
Samuel C. Onuh
Cecilia S. Odo
Tochukwu J. Okolie
Prince C. Ekoh


There is an existing lack of interest in professional mental health support in many parts of the world. This is peculiar in sub-Saharan African countries and  more pronounced among Nigerian men who are culturally raised to avoid professional mental health assistance. Our study explored how young  Nigerian men deal with mental health challenges in the face of poor access to and utilisation of professional support. Data were collected from 24 young  men in Nsukka, Enugu state, using semistructured interviews. The collected data was analysed thematically with the aid of NVivo 12 software. Findings  revealed that participants described a history of one form of mental health challenge or the other but were uncomfortable accepting the idea. However,  only a few participants have ever sought professional assistance. The majority maintained that their friends and families, lovers, alcohol consumption,  and social media, were potent means of dealing with their mental health challenges. The reasons for the non-utilisation of professional support were  related to confidentiality, perceived cost of service, stigma, and the cultural expectation of being a male. Therefore, we recommend sensitisation by  professionals, including social workers, aimed at destigmatising mental health issues among young Nigerian men and the government regulating and  financing mental health services to ensure confidentiality and affordability, respectively.  

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eISSN: 1115-3946