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Experts seek innovative approach to deliver mental health services

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Oluwayemi Ogun

Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, has harped on the need to adopt new strategies to deliver mental health services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that the hospital witnessed increased incidences of new mental cases probably induced by COVID-19 lockdown.

Ogun made the remark at the 3rd Annual Research Conference tagged: ‘Mental Health and COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for research and practice.’
The psychiatrist noted that the main idea of the conference was to stimulate more research in the hospital.

She said: “People feel we are only a service centre. We are into service, research and training just like other institutions. It is important to match a little bit of research with a little practice as a scientist. We need to continue research into the pandemic and modify methods of interacting with patients as the need arises.”

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According to Ogun, access to care was affected by the pandemic, thereby making the institution to change the orientation of service. She continued: “To address the issue of access we introduced tele-rehabilitation. We also created a short stay ward where the new patient has to stay for the COVID-19 two weeks window period to keep everyone safe before transferring the patient to the main ward.”

The medical director said for the health sector, the year 2020 is probably the most challenging year witnessed because the COVID-19 was accompanied by fear and anxiety which caused strong emotions in children and adults.

Ogun said that public health actions such as lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the disease also contributed to increased stress.

Meanwhile, the keynote speaker, Prof. Victor Lasebikan, disclosed that the pandemic has a lot of mental health implications on the survivors, frontline workers, general populations and even the government.

He noted that the lack of funding opportunities and conducive environment are the challenges hampering researches across the country. Lasebikan said the pandemic created fears of different sorts with people experiencing many mental issues include, stress, disorder, depression substances disorder and other social issues, economic problem, and the problem of survival. The expert, however, disclosed that the government has rolled out funding for research opportunities a few months ago urging researches to make use of the avenue created.

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