Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Ondo State chpater of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is calling for free treatment of mental related illnesses in all hospitals across the country.
This, the association said, would reduce cases of mental disabilities which it noted is rampant in Nigeria.
NMA President in Ondo state, Francis Faduyile, who spoke in Akure, the state capital, at the inauguration of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) Mental Health Care Foundation in Akure, said mental related-ailments are currently on the increase in the country and stressed the need for government to provide free medical services to patients of mental health illness.
The NMA president, who was represented by the association Chairman Committee on Mental Health, Abayomi Olajide, said issues of mental health should be taken serious by government, individuals, donors and NGOs as being done on HIV treatment.
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He added that there should be mental health units in all health facilities, saying that all psychiatric hospitals should be turned into rehabilitation centres.
According to him, hands must be joined with Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, NMA, NGOs and other mental health specialists towards advocacy for better mental health services and passage of Mental Health Bill currently before the Senate in the interest of promoting safer society.
“It is criminal to deny access to non discriminatory qualitative mental health services for all age groups,” he said.
Faduyile called for training and retraining of health workers from the primary through tertiary healthcare levels with recruitment of needed mental health specialists for the mental well being of the nation.
He condemned the act of discrimination and stigmatisation against people living with mental sickness.
The NMA president said it was incumbent upon society to help young people develop mental resilience from the earliest age, to cope with the challenges of today’s world.
The NGO Founder, Rotimi Ogunsanmi, said he established the mental health centre because ‘it is a calling not because I am rich but it is necessary. This is a dream that will not die.”
Ogunsanmi noted that the initiative was a revolutionary project for the betterment of people.
He stressed that the foundation was bent on making those with mental illness not to see themselves in a state of helplessness and assured the centre would provide integrated mental healthcare services for people of all ages across Nigeria.
“We have revolutionised mental illness treatment because this centre will provide appropriate counselling with no fewer than 40,000 e-books available free of charge.
“We will provide excellent care for the mentally challenged and their children and we will bridge the gap between the mental illness patients and government because we will provide referral to those who are suffering from the illness,” he said.
Also, he promised the foundation would as well provide needed donations to the patients and their children.
Ogunsanmi, who asked for a minute silence in remembering his late mother for the roles played in his life, told the audience that his mother was a victim of mental health sickness for 21 years without external help.
“My caring and dear mother suffered mental illness for 21 years and I did a lot to rescue her but all to no avail. In fact, doctor pitied my efforts until she died.
“This is the nexus between this health initiative and me, so that others could be helped before it is too late,” he said.