By Ekeoma Ogwo and Lilian Okoro
Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, says the state government is constructing a 500-bed facility Psychiatric Hospital to promote mental healthcare delivery in the country.
Abayomi made this known at the Vanguard Mental Health Summit on Thursday in Lagos with theme as: “Mobilising for Systemic Change and Better Mental Healthcare in Nigeria”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was organised in collaboration with OISA Foundation.
The commissioner said that 15 hectres of land have been secured at Ketu Ejirin area of the state for construction of the hospital, which on completion would enhance mental healthcare delivery not only in Lagos State, but also in the country at large.
“The state home psychiatric hospital is undergoing construction which is geared toward enhancing mental health delivery.
“After this is completed, beside it will be an annex of 1000 beds rehabilitation home where young people with mental health illness will be taken care of.
“It will be a comprehensive rehabilitation home with recreational, vocational and occupational centres for total rehabilitation of people with psychiatric illness.
“People with mental health disorders need vocational training. They need recreation. They need to be able to roam around in a very scenic environment.
“So, we have chosen this location in Ketu Ejirin.
“It’s nice, green and lush. 15 hectres of land is a lot of land so that the mental health patients who are admitted to this facility will have a very serene environment for their mental healing”.
“Also, the Lagos Mental Health Law, 2019 has been established in the state and is functional,” Abayomi said.
The commissioner, however, urged residents to take advantage of the Lagos State established mental health helpline called ‘Lagos Lifeline’ by dialing “09090006463” to access mental health information and help including telephone counselling, social support and referral where appropriate.
Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, identified stress and depression as among the leading triggers of mental health issues, especially in this era of COVID-19 pandemic.
Owoeye identified stress and poor working conditions as the root causes of mental health problems in Nigeria.
“Stress is not peculiar to Lagos State; it’s a global phenomenon. We all know the stress factors and scenarios involving stress-related issues.
“Social determinants of mental health problems are societal problems that disrupt optimal mental health.
“Mental health impedes the achievement and development of other health. It contributes to poverty and accounts to four of the 10 leading causes of disability,”Owoeye said.
Also, Prof. Taiwo Lateef Sheikh, President, Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria (APN), called for passage of the Mental Health Bill presently before the National Assembly.
Sheikh said that passage of the bill was necessary to enhance mental delivery in the country and address the challenges and stigmas faced by people with mental health illness.
He, therefore, stressed the need for increase in funding and allocation to mental health, saying that only three per cent of the budgetary allocation to health sector were given to mental health in Nigeria. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)