A group of over 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) organising under the umbrella of Nigerian Mental Health, has called for passage of the National Mental Health Bill 2020
The group made the call Monday, during an awareness walk in Abuja to mark World Mental Health Day.
The CSOs also urged the government to take proactive measures to adopt suicide prevention strategies within its strategic framework.
Chime Asonye, founder of Nigerian Mental Health, said the awareness walk was organized to advance discussion around mental health and the importance of the National Health Bill.
“Mental health affects everyone, so it is great that hundreds of people came out to advocate for the government to improve the policy environment for those dealing with psychological conditions and challenges. Their voices will help advance the conversation and this important Bill,” Asonye said.
He added that the goal was to ensure the speedy passage of the bill and more attention to mental health issues in the country.
Speaking also, Jakpo Ukuekwu, Head Media and Communication, Mental Health for Youth Initiative (MHYI), decried that one in eight Nigerians suffers from mental health, hence, the need to pass the Bill into law.
He said: “We are passionate about mental health and this bill can help make things easier for Nigerians.
“One in eight Nigerians actually suffer from mental health and this is a big issue. Even the youths are struggling with many issues and most of them don’t have anywhere to go to.
“For us, it is really important that we create this awareness especially among young people.”
Also, the Community Engagement Officer and Sunshine Series Mind Wellness, Rachel Nsefik – Eyo explained that signing the Bill into law would help to improve mental health services in the country.
She noted: “We are advocating for the passage of the National Mental Health Bill 2020 into law. The bill is currently waiting for the signature of the president.
“We are trying to push for the signing of the bill into law so that mental health services that we have in Nigeria can be improved upon.”