By Stanley Onyekwere
The Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria have been enjoined to embark on public enlightenment and education campaigns on issues of mental health especially in the area of drugs abuse, depression and suicide.
This charge was handed down to the Psychiatrists by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, yesterday, at the 52 Annual General Scientific Meeting (AGSM), tagged: Abuja 2021 of the association.
Bello, who was represented by Dr Mohammed Kawu, the Acting Secretary of FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, noted that mental health in Nigeria was often not given the prominence it deserves because patients and their families usually choose not to speak out or seek professional help for fear of stigmatisation.
“ It is therefore imperative that your association embark on public sensitisation campaign to shed more light on the issues of mental health.
“ Your theme for this gathering which is Mental Health and National Development in Nigeria: A call to Action, is therefore very timely, and germane.
“ I will therefore like to underscore the importance of this meeting which has brought together leading Psychiatrist from within and outside the country.
“ There is no doubt that this gathering will advance the frontiers of Psychiatrist practice in Nigeria,” Bello said.
Earlier, the President of the association, Prof. Taiwo Sheikh, said the national development of any country rests on the well being of its citizens.
“ In the same vein we know that there is no health without mental health. It is no only an adage but a stark reality.
“ I believe our erudite academics and highly experienced clinicians are here and ready to dwell thoroughly into this theme that aptly captures the present state of our country.”
Similarly, Dr Olusola Ephraim-Oluwanuga, Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of Department of Psychiatrist, National Mosque, Abuja, said the programme would contribute immensely towards addressing issues of mental health in the country.