The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Faduyile, has said there was a need for the stakeholders to handle the issue of mental health seriously, the way they handle the issue of Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
He also said the government should create mental health units in all health facilities in the county, like the way they created HIV units at the hospitals.
Faduyile, who spoke during the inauguration of a non-governmental organisation, ‘Carry My Cross Mental Health Centre,’ on Thursday in Akure, the Ondo State capital, suggested that all psychiatric hospitals should be turned into rehabilitation centres.
Represented at the occasion by the Chairman of NMA Committee on Mental Health,
Dr Abayomi Olajide, the NMA President also advocated free treatment of mental related illness in order to tackle extensively increase of the sickness in Nigeria.
Faduyile condemned the act of discrimination and stigmatisation against people living with mental sickness, saying mentally-sick people were members of the society that needed love and care.
According to him, there should be a collaboration with the 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 a safer society.
He said, “It is criminal to deny access to non-discriminatory qualitative mental health services for all age groups.
He also stressed the need for society to help young people develop mental resilience from the earliest age, in order to cope with the current challenges of the world.
“More than ever before, promoting and protecting adolescents health brings benefits not just to them only but also to economy and society because healthy adults will be able to make impacts in all facets,” the medical practitioner stated.