24th November, 2019
Some mental health experts have called for collaboration between parents, guardians, educators and the government in the prevention of suicide.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the experts made the call at the third edition of a Work and Emotional Conference organised by AcrossAll Initiative for Mental Health and Stigma Eradication, an NGO, on Saturday in Lagos.
The theme of the conference was; “Preventing Suicide: Role of Stakeholders”.
Mrs Charity Babatunde, a Life Coach, urged parents and teachers to pay close attention to those underlying factors that could lead a young person to committing suicide.
Babatunde is the Founder, RAVE et al, an NGO that advocates for the well-being of children and adolescents.
According to him, there are usually underlying factors that lead someone to taking their lives.
“We find that our children spend more time at school than they even spend at home; we need education to go beyond academics to teaching life skills and how to survive in the world.
“That is why it is important as parents and educators to pay attention to those factors so that before it gets to the stage of suicide, they are able to get some interventions,’’she said.
Also, a mental health expert from the Mental Health Desk, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Tolu Ajomale, said the state had provided a mental health bill that was passed in January 2019.
According to him, the bill provides for the protection of people who are suffering from mental illness as well as room for programmes that will reduce stigma associated with mental illness.
“Also, part of the provisions of that law is to protect people against poor quality of services that are available in the society.
“This means that it gives us power to be able to shut down facilities that are providing services that are against or infringing against human rights,’’he said.
Ajomale also said that the government was collaborating with researchers, scientists, policy makers, and academicians to be able to get more information about mental health generally.
He said that the right information was critical to addressing issues bordering on mental health, hence the collaboration.
“We are also collaborating with NGOs and CSOs so that we can work together and build a solid force regarding mental health.
“Also, to build a proper strategic direction where everyone knows their own role and we can actually make a mileage and achieve significant progress regarding mental health,’’Ajomale said.
In his remarks, the Founder, AcrossAll Initiative, Mr Seun Dosunmu, said that the conference was an annual summit aimed at promoting mental health education by leveraging on dialogues with experts.
“We are using this medium to urge stakeholders which includes everybody to step up their roles in preventing suicide.
“For instance, for a long time there has not been a mental health bill to ensure mentally ill persons have access to quality healthcare as well as addressing the stigma attached to it,’’ Dosunmu added.