By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Lagos State government marked 2019 World Mental Health Day by announcing that it will extend mental healthcare services to the primary healthcare level in furtherance of efforts to increase access to mental healthcare services in the State.
Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, disclosed this during a recorded broadcast to commemorate this year’s World Mental Health Day.
He said that the State government recognizes the need to strengthen mental healthcare delivery and eradicate the difficulties in accessing mental health services which occur as a result of reluctance in seeking medical attention and lack of knowledge of where to access adequate care.
“And this is why we are incorporating mental health care to the primary health care level across the State”, Abayomi said.
He noted that the promotion of mental health and well-being of Lagosians are priorities within the State’s development agenda for Health which is to ensure that every citizen has access to effective and sustainable Health care delivery models.
Abayomi said that the inclusion of Mental Health Care delivery at the Primary Health level will reduce the difficulties in assessing adequate health care and will go a long way in reducing the alarming suicide rate in the society.
He added that the state is working and collaborating with other sectors to create a strong network of facilities that will address mental health needs
“We recognize the difficulties in accessing mental health services which can occur because we are afraid to come forward and seek help, or are unaware of where to get it or the existing institutions and resources that provide these services are few and far between.
As a Government, we are working to ensure availability of mental health services at the primary healthcare level. We are also working to partner and collaborate with other sectors, to create a strong network of operations, facilities and programmes that will address mental health needs,’’ he said.
He stated further that the state has set the groundwork for the development of sustainable mental health care programs and services that will ensure improved health outcomes in the long-term which will also enable the State to become one of the forerunners in the delivery of sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens in Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.
‘’We have set the groundwork for the development of sustainable mental health care programs and services that will ensure improved health outcomes in the long-term. This will enable the State to become one of the forerunners in the delivery of sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens in Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole,’’ he said.
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to mental health which is symbolized by the development of the Lagos State Mental Health Policy and Lagos State’s New Mental Health Law which was passed earlier this year. He said that the law which provides for the protection of those suffering from stigmatization because of their illness will go a long way in setting the framework for developing an effective and robust Mental Health Service for all Lagosians.
He however appreciated the enthusiastic participation of mental health professionals and stakeholders in areas of health policy, service planning, implementation strategies and advocacy; and therefore assured the continuous support of the government to the development and implementation of a mental health system that will improve the mental health of individuals and communities through evidence-based interventions and services.