Lagos State Government said it will extend mental healthcare services to the primary health care level in furtherance of efforts to increase access to mental healthcare in the State.
The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this during a recorded broadcast to commemorate this year’s World Mental Health Day, said that the State Government recognises the need to strengthen mental healthcare delivery and eradicate the difficulties in accessing mental health services which occur as a result of reluctance in seeking medical attention and lack of knowledge about accessing adequate care.
“And this is why we are incorporating mental healthcare to the primary healthcare level across the State”, Abayomi said.
He noted that the promotion of mental health and well-being of Lagosians are priorities within the State’s development agenda for health, basically to ensure that every citizen has access to effective and sustainable healthcare delivery models.
Abayomi maintained that mental healthcare delivery at the Primary Health level will reduce the difficulties in assessing appropriate treatment and will go a long way in reducing the alarming suicide rate in the society, adding that the government is working and collaborating with other sectors to create a strong network of facilities that will address mental health needs.
“As a Government, we are working to ensure the availability of mental health services at the primary healthcare level. We are also working to partner and collaborate with other sectors, to create a strong network of operations, facilities and programmes that will address mental health needs”, he said.
He stated further that the groundwork has been set for the development of sustainable mental healthcare programs and services that will ensure improved outcomes in the long-term, towards making the State one of the forerunners in the delivery of sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens in Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.
He reiterated the Government’s commitment to mental health as symbolised by the development of the Lagos State Mental Health Policy and Lagos State’s New Mental Health Law passed earlier this year, noting that the law provides for the protection of those suffering from stigmatisation as a result of their illness.
While appreciating the enthusiastic participation of mental health professionals and stakeholders in areas of health policy, service planning, implementation strategies and advocacy, Abayomi assured of the continuous support of the government towards implementing a robust mental health system.