From Gyang Bere, Jos
Following the increasing cases of depression and mental disorder in Nigeria, a clinical Psychologist and Programme officer of Charis Healthcare and Community Support Initiative, Henry Ojanya has urged Federal Government to take deliberate steps towards addressing poverty in the country.
He noted that effort must also be made to sensitize Nigerians and equipping them with information on how to tackle mental health issues that often lead to depression and sometimes suicides.
Ojanya disclosed this while presenting a paper during a sensitization campaign on mental health, titled, “Beyond COVID-19 pandemic: Emergency preparedness for another pandemic; mental health implications and responsiveness to wholistic care”
He explained that the programme was aimed at sensitizing Nigerians and liberating them from the disturbing health issues caused by COVID-19 pandemic and insecurity.
Ojanya said Charis is an organization that provide mental services to disadvantaged individuals, families and communities by empowering them to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives and become agents of change in their communities.
He said stakeholders must take deliberate steps towards, “Poverty eradication; access to basic services, energy, water, sanitation; inclusive education; Gender equality; Involvement of grassroot; understanding and acceptance of preventive measure, vaccine safety.
Ojanya stressed further that “building capacity of stakeholders, pandemic training and re-training; Infrastructure, supply, storage and cold chains, motivate and patronize local manufacturers and provision of Mental Health Support Services: de-stigmatization,Tele medicine” us key in building mental capacity of Nigerians.
Project Coordinator, ECWA Eye CBM-BMZ and Head Department of Ophthalmology, Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Dr Mercy Adejoh, who also presented a paper advised on the devastating effect of mental health and call for swift action among stakeholders.
The experts suggested that the number of psychologists should be increased from the estimated 200 professionals attending to over 200 million Nigerians to well over one million.
A Communication strategist, Adah Francis Abah said mental health and Psychosocial support need to be made a priority and integrated into the COVID-19 pandemic response plan on Nigeria.
He said that will further curb the mental health problems caused by the pandemic and improve the mental health and Psychosocial support system and said this support should continue during and after the pandemic, targeting high risk groups such as survivors, bereaved family members, children, the elderly, healthcare workers and people with preexisting mental health disorder.