Violence against Mental Health Staff in Nigeria: Some Lessons from Two Mental Hospitals

Ukpong, D. I. ; Abasiubong, F. ; Ekpo, A. U. ; Udofia, O. ; Owoeye, O. A. (2011)


Background: Psychiatric patient violence against staff is frequently encountered in mental health settings. Studies from Africa and Nigeria in particular are few. Aim: The study aimed at comparing the frequency and type of physical assaults by individuals with mental illness against staff working in two mental hospitals in Nigeria with a view to identifying some staff contextual variables that could predispose them to these assaults. Methods: The study was a cross-sectional descriptive report by questionnaire survey of physical assaults on 189 staff members (doctors and nurses) working at the Federal Neuropsychiatry Hospital, Yaba (FNHY), Lagos and Federal Neuropsychiatry Hospital Calabar (FNHC), Nigeria. Results: One hundred and twelve participants from the two hospitals were victims of 202 assaults. Staff of FNHC experienced more assaults (70.4%) than staff of FNHY (49.5%), and this was significant. Nursing staff were more frequently assaulted than doctors for the two hospitals. Even though staff of FNHC attended fewer courses on management and prevention of violence than staff of FNHY, not having received training in managing patient violence and gender were not significant risk factors for exposure to patient violence in a multivariate analysis. Conclusion: There is a need to formulate policies and guidelines for the management and prevention of psychiatric patient violence against staff in our mental health institutions.