Home News NGO Tasks FG, Stakeholders On Mental Health

NGO Tasks FG, Stakeholders On Mental Health


By Ibironke Ariyo

Abuja, – The president, Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA) a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Dr Hope Omeiza, has called on the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to help increase awareness on mental health illness.

Omeiza, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the celebration of World Health Day on Monday in Abuja, said increased awareness would help curtail drug abuse in the country.

NAN reports that the World Health Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 10 to raise awareness on mental health, and this year’s is being marked with the theme, “Make Mental Health and Well-Being for All a Global Priority.”

Mental health is the level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment.

Omeiza commended the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for not resting on its oars to prevent the country from drug trafficking and abuse.

He attributed most cases of mental problems to drug abuse by young people and even adults.

He said mental health was a critical part of humanitarian assistance and an integral component of domestic and international emergency response systems.

He also said the stakeholders’ narrative in mental issues would help to push the government to action in making a policy that would guide mental issues.

Omeiza identified the media, traditional leaders, religious leaders, teachers, and road transport workers as the stakeholders, saying that their contributions would help change the narrative.

He urged governments at all levels and every concerned individual or group to scale up advocacy on mental health education to raise awareness and reduce social stigma.

“I am appealing to the federal government and relevant stakeholders to intensify sensitisation on these drugs and their effects.

“Agencies in charge of addressing this problem should double their efforts.

“We need to do this because it is for our own safety so that our young boys and girls can be safe,” he said.

The NGO boss observed that many factors could lead to mental health conditions in the country, which he said included societal, economic reasons, as well as family and medical histories of the afflicted.

He pointed out that poor knowledge of mental health problems accounted for the increasing incidences of drug abuse.

“Drug abuse as a major factor must be dealt with and the only way to check the vice is to increase awareness of its existence,” he said.

According to him, a lot of reports have been made on mental health; drug use, abuse, dependency, suicide and care in the country have affected a large number of people.

“Unless mental health disorder is identified with, people can deliberately misuse over-the-counter drugs to commit suicide because any drug misused becomes poisonous.

“Health is the life of the human being. When one is healthy, one can do anything and achieve anything. In fact, all things can be done.

“But when you abuse drugs, the drugs will also abuse you,” he said. (NAN) 

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