Lagos State To Invest In Mental Health Care

Oct 12, 2011 – The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, disclosed it has adopted a mental health policy which will guarantee social justice and equity for victims of mental illness.

In a press briefing commemorating Mental Health Day, the state’s Commissioner of Health, Jide Idris, admitted that statistics relating to mental health is now significant and could no longer be ignored by any reasonable government.

“The state government has recognised the significance of mental health and has decided to address these issues by investing in mental health and ensuring that the rights of people with these disorders are respected,” he said.

Mental, neurological and substance abuse account for 14 per cent of the global burden of diseases according to recent studies. In Lagos, an average of 14.1 per cent of the total Lagos population suffers from one form of mental illness or the other. These illnesses may not necessarily be psychosis but untreated minor mental illnesses which affects the quality of life.”

According to him, the new policy includes: mental health promotion; primary care and access to services; treatment guidelines at primary healthcare level; services for people with severe mental illness; reduction of work place stress and the risk of suicide; and human resources for mental health.

“This is only the first step in our plan to invest in mental health,” he said.  “Lagos will not be left behind as our objective to remain in the forefront of providing qualitative and quantitative mental healthcare to the citizens of the state will remain our focus in this administration.”

He pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 150 million people are affected by alcohol use disorders; 40 million from depression; another 40 million from Alzheimer’s disease; and 1 million people commit suicide.