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Campaign to alleviate mental effect of COVID-19 begins in Lagos

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[FILES] Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu. Photo: TWITTER/JOKESANWOOLU

An enlightenment campaign to boost mental well-being of Lagos residents, particularly in the wake of some traumatising experiences, including COVID-19, has begun.

Underscoring the rationale for the project, wife of Lagos State governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said: “Mental health is so important, yet the awareness is abysmally low, thus necessitating a deliberate measure towards bringing to the front-burner the pertinent factors relating to mental illnesses in Nigeria.”

Mrs. Sanwo-Olu, a surgeon, who spoke, yesterday, at a press conference on the campaign, organised by Orunsii Wellcare Foundation, in collaboration with Office of the First Lady, in Alausa, quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranking Nigeria to have Africa’s highest caseload of depression and being in the 15th position in global frequency of suicide.

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“The number of psychiatrists in this country has also been established to be a far cry from what is needed when juxtaposed with the percentage of mentally ill Nigerians who need medical care.

“This staggering reality is a pointer to the fact that all hands should be on deck towards tackling emotional disorders among Nigerians and ultimately to de-stigmatise mental disorders in the country.”

She commended the Wellcare Foundation, for taking the lead through its “Mental Health Awareness, De-stigmatisation and Enlightenment in Lagos State (MAHDE)” codenamed “MAHDE in Lagos.”

Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabanwo, said the focus was to make life comfortable and worthy of living for the people. He said the MAHDE project would cover drug abuse, care for elderly and empowerment of widows, among others.

Experts, who made presentations on the project at the event include Dr. Odusipe Victoria; a consultant psychiatrist and psychologist with The Freudian Centre, Lagos, Dr. Olayinka Jibunoh; Dr. Ademola Gureje and Oluwagbemisola Ladipo.

Ladipo, while also underscoring the importance of the programme, said: “It became necessary due to the mental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought about increased levels of anxiety, depression due to isolation and bereavement. Higher alcohol consumption has also been seen across the globe and there has been increase in the level of worry due to job cuts.”

Alimoso Local Council will be used for the pilot study.

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