The Ekiti State Government has stated its commitment to prioritise mental health care in the state, by increasing awareness of mental health issues, breaking down stigma and introducing policy change. These were the major themes discussed at the State’s commemoration of the 2020 World Mental Health Day.
The World Mental Health Day is marked on the 10th of October annually, to raise awareness on mental health and increase action in this area by governments globally. This year, the Ekiti State Ministry of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the Wife of the State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi hosted a one-day seminar at the School of Nursing, Ado-Ekiti. The theme was in line with the global theme which is, “Mental health for All”.
In his opening remarks, the Commissioner for Health and Human Services , Dr. Oyebanji Filani noted that Dr. Kayode Fayemi led administration is committed to increasing the State Government’s investment in health care. He stated that the commemoration of the event was one of various steps the State is taking, towards developing and instituting Ekiti State Mental Health Policy.
Saying, “Ekiti State Ministry of Health with support from His Excellency Governor Kayode Fayemi will begin to work towards standards for accessing mental health services that are just as ambitious as those for physical health. It is time for us to give the mental wellbeing of Ekiti-kete the priority that it so profoundly deserves.”
At the event, the Wife of the State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi highlighted the risks that women and girls face as victims of gender-based violence and its links to mental health. She emphasised that gender inequalities that exist in Nigeria, as well as economic and social stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, have had implications on gender-based violence and the mental health of women and girls. In her charge, she said, “Today, our goal is not just to raise awareness of mental health issues, but also begin a strategic process to develop and institute targeted actions for mental health care in Ekiti State. It is time for us to rise up and move from ideas to reality.”
The Ekiti State World Mental Health Day forum also had keynote lectures from prominent mental health professionals in the State and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). In their lectures, Dr Lawal Musiliu, Dr Oluwole Olutoyin and Dr. Olusegun Joseph underscored the dangers posed by illicit drug use, the stigma associated with mental health and the urgent need for the State Government to develop and institute target actions for mental health care in Ekiti State.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Human Services, Dr Folake Olomojobi appreciated the State Government and the Wife of the Governor for the increasing focus on mental health care, and pledged the commitment of the Ministry of Health and Human Services in developing a roadmap for mental health care in Ekiti State.
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