The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI) today organized the biggest Community Mental Health Outreach in Abuja, Nigeria to commemorate the 2019 World Mental Health Day (with the theme “Suicide Prevention”) usually marked worldwide on October 10 , in partnership with sister organizations such as Secure D Future (SDF), Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), Mentally Aware Initiative Nigeria (MANI), High Blood Pressure of Nigeria, Association of Medical Social Workers of Nigeria (AMSWON) among others.
The outreach which took place at L.E.A Primary School, Galadima, Abuja saw over 100 local dwellers from Galadima village, Gwarinpa Estate and Bwari Area Council of FCT-Abuja trooped out for free mental health assessment, blood pressure test, counseling, therapeutic and Yoga sessions.
Mr Zion Abba, founder, The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative, while giving his welcome remarks decries the complex phenomenal of suicide rate in Nigeria as every 40 seconds somebody somewhere around the globe is committing suicide due to mental health issues. Abba said that the outreach also aimed to draw the attention of Nigerian government to invest more in mental health, empower and support the population to live a mentally healthy life. He also called for a tenable Mental Health Act, adding that there is need for a revamp of the mental health sector. “The mental health act would lead to the mainstreaming of mental health issues into primary, secondary and tertiary education. “There should be treatment centres where people can walk into and get mental health assessment,” Abba stressed.
Dr Audu Hadiza, who represented Dr. Taiwo Lateef, President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN) said “suicide is a public health challenge that must be taken seriously to reduce its effect in the society.” She called on religious organizations stand up and assist in counseling people to reduce the rate of suicides in the country.
She added that social integration is very critical to reduce this challenge, while the lack of values for our culture are the cause of all these; government alone cannot help the situation, therefore prominent Nigerians must assist as well. “The first way to tackle suicide is through awareness and sensitization while it is important that mental health is advocated for because research has shown that countries which has enormous economic challenges are at higher risk of suicide deaths.”
Meanwhile, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi during the outreach called on the Federal Government to invest in young Nigerians by tapping into the skills embedded in them. According to her, the skills embedded in the youths are dying and there is need for the government to tap into it in positive ways to disabuse the minds of young Nigerians from moving into other countries.
The outreach also witnessed an historical feat as traditional leaders and community dwellers join their voice with us on ongoing global #Speakyourmind campaign to combat the menace of suicide worldwide.