Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, APN, has condemned what they described as “all forms of abuses” against persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities even as they called for the integration of mental health in all levels of healthcare in Nigeria.
Making these calls, the association’s President, Dr. Taiwo Lateef Sheikh said the National Assembly should expedite action on the passage of 2019 Mental Health Bill before it.
He explained that the Bill seeks to provide enhancement of mental wellbeing of the citizens through programmes that promote mental wellbeing, prevent mental health and psychosocial disabilities, According to him, “Persons living with mental health and psychosocial disabilities should be considered as disadvantaged and vulnerable. “
“Government should make special provisions for them in all spheres of their lives, specifically mental health and psychosocial services should be accessible and free for them.
“There should be adequate funding of Mental Health Services and provision of psychosocial support services to persons living with mental and psychosocial disabilities with a view to guaranteeing their mental wellbeing, protecting their fundamental human rights and ensuring social inclusion.
Corroborating his views, the Vice President of the association, Dr. Ladipo Adepoju called on the government to recruit more mental health professionals into the health care structure at all levels of health care delivery service.
“Mental health care services should be incorporated into primary health care to enhance effective and qualitative community mental health, psychosocial services and encourage community participation.
“As mental health is inseparable from physical health, adequate provision should be made for the training of all health care personnel on basic mental health and psychosocial skills for effective task sharing and task shifting generally and specifically.
On her part, Dr. Joyce Omoaregba urged the government to establish a National Agency for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for the effective management of mental health and psychosocial disabilities.
“Government should urgently set up a task force that will identify illegal treatment centres and disband all unapproved treatment and detention centres where all forms of unorthodox mental health care and psychosocial services are being rendered particularly those that violate the rights of persons with mental health and psychosocial disabilities.