Don’t violate rights of people with mental health condition, CMD cautions Nigerians

The Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba, has urged Nigerians to ensure that the human rights of persons with mental health condition are not violated.

Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, the Medical Director of the hospital, made the call at a lecture organised by the hoospital in commemoration of the World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2023 on Tuesday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the WMHD is celebrated annually on Oct. 10 to raise awareness about mental health around the world.

The WMHD is also observed to mobilise efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues.

The 2023 WMHD has as its theme: ”Mental Health is a Universal Human Right”.

Owoeye, in his welcome address, said that mental health was an integral part of people’s overall health and wellbeing, which needed to be protected.

He said that the human rights of anyone should not be violated because of one’s mental health condition.

He decried that many people with mental health condition were being violated and deprived of their rights in the society because of their health condition.

According to him, mental health is important for everyone because it is the right of everyone to have a sound mental health to optimally function well.

Owoeye explained that mental health as a universal right implied that every human being has right to accessible and quality mental healthcare services.

He said that 25 to 30 per cent of the world population were living with one diagnosable mental health condition or the other, saying that the health condition could happen to anyone at anytime.

Owoeye also restated the commitment of the hospital to ensure that people had access to quality mental healthcare services in Nigeria.

”Stable mental health is a universal right of everyone.

”According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is a basic human right for all people.

”Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health.

”Having a mental health condition should never be a reason to violate or deprive anyone of his or her human rights.

”Unfortunately, in Nigeria, many people with mental health condition are being deprived of their human rights, humiliated, discriminated and stigmatised,” Owoeye said.

Dr Olufumilayo Akinola, a Consultant Psychiatrist, said that the WMHD offered an opportunity for people and the country at large to improve their knowledge and drive action about mental health.

Akinola, a Guest Speaker at the event, said there was an urgent need for action to let people know that it was their right to have access to quality mental health.

She emphasised the need for provision of accessible, quality and affordable mental health services across the country.

According to her, it is the duty of everyone including the governments, individuals, families, organisations and the general public to ensure that mental health is valued, protected and promoted.

”Despite all advocacies about mental health, there is still a lot of violations of the human rights of those suffering mental health illness.

”Many are being excluded from the community and discriminated against because of their health condition.

”This is very wrong; people with mental health challenge are human beings who are unfortunate to develop the condition because of one circumstance or the other.

”Anybody can have mental health condition because study has showed that one in every four persons have the tendency of developing mental health condition in their life time.

”We need to get to that level in Nigeria that we value our mental health, shun stigmatisation and help others to overcome their mental health challenges,” Akinola said

Akinola listed implementation of the Mental Health Act, good social support, early intervention and seeking help as some of the strategies needed to promote stable mental health state for the country.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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