Expert Advocates Integration Of Mental Health Into Primary Health

By Elizabeth Christopher, Abuja

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A mental health expert, Adedotun Esan has called for the integration of mental health services in to the Primary Health Care system in Nigeria.

The call follows the signing into law of the Mental Health Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari and harmonised by the National Assembly, to replace he lunacy Act of 1958.

Esan made the call at a programme, 2022 reflection time, with the theme: what! So what, now what?, co hosted by Ditty and Abiodun Ozurumba in Abuja.

She said that “the Act has created a better platform to address mental health challenges in the country.

“There will now be budgeting for mental health programmes, the services for mental health can now be integrated into primary health care, that means even from primary health centres people can now access these services and it can bring protection to people working in that space.”

Esan explained that it is important for workers to strike a proper balance to enhance their mental health.

She said; “Many organisations are oblivious of the impact of work on mental health, but with education and advocacy people are beginning to understand the impact of work on their employees’ mental health. You will now see that some organisations now make provisions for daycare and crèche for woman with babies, staff clinics and provision of flexible work patterns where some people get to work physically on some days and virtually too, all these stimulates productivity and reduces stress,” she said.

The Facilitator of the programme, Mrs Abiodun Ozurumba noted that employers of labour must take the welfare of their employees as priority to curb mental stress and enhance productivity.

Mrs Ozurumba said; “as a trade Unionist, more importantly, staff welfare, imagine the introduction of staff bus, it can relief staff of transportation cost and help them save little of their funds, there are other things that can uplift the status of staff and these are necessary.”

She explained that the mental health awareness programme was put together to impact lives and support colleagues going through mental health issues.
She said; “We are trying to ensure that our colleagues are in total health status. As a manager in my office, I have seen some of my younger colleagues going through depression and other mental issues, apart from speaking with them, it is good that someone comes from outside to talk to them, I believe in networking, someone they can trust and open up to them. So we have some Directors and Deputy Directors here and we have been able to have a robust engagement so that they can take excellent decisions.”



Mercy Chukwudiebere

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