The federal government has disclosed its commitment to ensuring that the Nigerian youth enjoys sound mental health.
Honourable Minister of Youth Development, Dr. Jamila Bio Ibrahim said this at the Nigerian Air Force Conference and Suites, Abuja, during a ministerial roundtable and launching of policy document on mental health, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
The Minister called on all stakeholders to collaborate and tackle the challenges of mental health .
She said, “it is time to draw all stakeholders together to engage in conversation surrounding mental health as it is fundamental to overall health care.”
She described the National Mental Health Act of 2021 as a milestone in Nigeria’s commitment to mental health, which provisions for the promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of mental health conditions.
She said the key provision of the act include Integration of mental health into primary healthcare, protection of the rights of persons with mental health conditions, and strategies for community based mental health services. Dr Ibrahim added that it is pivotal to include mental health in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Dr. Ibrahim noted that the theme of the conference, ” Achieving Universal Health coverage for mental health,” was apt because the mental health of a person affects how he thinks, feels, and acts adding that it is the first step towards a healthy society.
The Minister observed that achieving universal health coverage for mental health means ensuring that all Nigerians have access to quality mental health services without facing financial hardship. She revealed that to this end. the Ministry was planning to establish a professional department that would be dedicated to the mental well-being of the youth.
Dr. Ibrahim acknowledged that implementation, collaboration, and sustained efforts are key to realizing the vision.
The Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, while launching the policy document on mental health, said that his Ministry, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, facilitated the process of enacting the National Mental Health Act to promote and protect the rights of persons with mental health conditions.
He, therefore, encouraged all healthcare practitioners and facilities to take advantage of the opportunity to improve their standard of care for people with mental health conditions in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message delivered via Zoom, the Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged the support of his organisation to Nigeria in her stride towards a healthy mental condition in the country, noting that there is no health without mental health.