Obaseki advocates broader stakeholders’ engagement
• Address Mental Health Issues — Groups Demand
• Psychiatrists Seek More Investment
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, called for a broader stakeholders’ engagement and huge investment in the health sector to respond to mental and other issues.
Obaseki made the call at an event to commemorate the World Mental Health Day, usually observed by the United Nations and its partners on October 10, every year.
Obaseki said: “The Coronavirus has dealt as much blow to our mental health as it does to the global economy..
“With COVID-19, we have all come to the realisation that much more attention must be given to the health sector, so that it can withstand future pandemics of same or higher scale.
Also, stakeholders, including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Rebuild Africa Foundation, Imo Peoples’ Action for Democracy (IPAD), religious bodies among others, yesterday, lamented that little or no attention was paid to mental health issues in the country.
They raised the alarm during an awareness forum in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, as part of activities to mark the World Mental Health Day.
The groups had earlier, in a joint road show in Owerri, led by the Chief Executive Officer of the Rebuild Africa Foundation, Nnamdi Ucheoma and Imo State Coordinator of IPAD, Majorie Ezihe, called for an increased attention in the area, with placards with various inscription: “I support mental health awareness month. “ “The discussion of mental health has become a taboo in our society….
Meanwhile, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN) has called for more investment in mental health programmes at levels of government. The group said mental healthcare has suffered from years of chronic underfunding and neglect.
APN Public Relations Officer, Dr. Abayomi Olajide, in a statement, said the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health for All, Greater Investment, Greater Access’.
Olajide noted that the high rate of mental illness in the country is of great concern with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the prevalence from 25 per cent to about 40 per cent.
The expert added that the rates of suicides, para-suicides, depression, anxiety disorders, rape and other violent behaviours are disheartening, with substance abuse challenges amongst the youths drawing the society close to the brink of emergencies.
Olajide explained that Nigeria, a society with many cultural and religious beliefs have misconceptions and misbeliefs about mental illness.
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