The Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Kware in Sokoto State has initiated a roadshow aimed at raising awareness among Nigerians about mental health and associated issues.
Prof. Shehu Sale, the Medical Director of the Hospital, shared that the activities were part of the commemoration of the 2023 World Mental Health Day, which carries the theme ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’.
Sale highlighted that the initiatives are part of a forward-thinking strategy to raise awareness about mental health, substance abuse, and related issues, and to decriminalise perspectives on mental health to enhance access.
He emphasised that the day is dedicated to global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma, and to encourage policymakers towards proactive engagements.
He articulated, “We are looking beyond celebrating this day and look closely at the individuals around us with the eye of empathy.”
Sale also underscored that mental health is a crucial part of the health system, which encompasses complete physical, social, and mental well-being.
The FNPH Kware hosts a regional Women and Children Drug Dependent Treatment Center, which serves the population in northern states and is the first of its kind established by the Federal Government.
The initiative by the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Kware is a commendable stride in dismantling the barriers and stigma associated with mental health in Nigeria.
We believe that mental health, often relegated to the shadows of public discourse, demands a spotlight, particularly in a society where misconceptions and stigmas persistently shroud it.
The roadshow not only symbolises a step towards enlightenment but also embodies a call to action for all of us to look beyond the surface, embracing empathy and understanding towards those grappling with mental health issues.
It is imperative that we, as a society, move beyond mere awareness and towards creating robust systems and policies that facilitate accessible, affordable, and quality mental health care for all citizens.
The theme ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right’ should not merely remain a slogan but should be embedded in our healthcare policies, practices, and societal attitudes.
It is through collective efforts, encompassing awareness, policy-making, and community support, that we can forge a society where mental health is not shrouded in stigma but is acknowledged, understood, and adequately addressed.
Did You Know?
- World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year, to raise awareness about mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.
- According to the World Health Organization, close to 1 billion people globally have a mental disorder, and depression is a leading cause of illness and disability among adolescents.
- Nigeria has one of the highest rates of depression in Africa, with around 7,079,815 people experiencing depressive disorders.
- Mental health services in Nigeria are underfunded. In 2017, federal and state governments spent less than 1% of their health budgets on mental health.
- The Aro Mental Hospital in Abeokuta, Nigeria, established in 1944, was once considered the prime mental health institution in West Africa.