Lagos opens wellness centre for employees

HOS Hakeem Muri-Okunola

Lagos State Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola

Lagos State Head of Service, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola

By Nimot Adetola Sulaimon

Lagos State Government has recorded another first with the setting up of Lagos State Employee Wellness Centre (LASWELL) for its workforce.

It is established as part of efforts to ensure the total wellbeing of its workforce and maximize their productivity,

At the official launch of the Centre, the Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said, that “the Centre is structured to enhance the welfare of Lagos State Public Servants to function effectively, with the help of professionals, as well as ensure officers attain satisfactory standards of mental stability and emotional/psychological wellbeing.

He added that the initiative is part of an effort to promote a comprehensive health system and ensure civil servants attain better mental health which underscores the high premium the present administration places on the wellbeing of its workforce in line with its THEMES Agenda, particularly at this present time when everyone is grappling with a global health crisis of Covid-19 Pandemic.

Muri-Okunola disclosed that he mooted the idea to set up LASWELL out having realized that to have a vibrant workforce, there was the need to address emotional, psychosocial, and mild mental issues that might be confronting the employees.

Also speaking at the occasion, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Dawodu stated that the setting up of LASWELL by the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was following the second pillar of the THEMES Agenda which is (Health and Environment).

Mr. Dawodu noted that the timeliness of the setting of LASWELL would be well appreciated when viewed from the perspective of the ever-increasing socio-economic challenges being faced by Civil Servants as well as workplace-related stresses and challenges at the home front.

Dawodu continued, “It was observed that the rate of depression has assumed an alarming proportion in recent time, compelling individuals to resort to taking antidepressants, while others are becoming victims of suicidal tendencies.

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“It is to rekindle hope in these individuals that LASWELL was brought to the doorstep of the employees.”

“The fact that the rate of depression, hopelessness, and lack of self-actualization has assumed unprecedented dimension in our society today is enough to invest in the system.

“As a responsible government, we cannot pretend to be uninterested in this. We are taking this step to nip the development in the bud”

In their various remarks, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Segun Ogboye as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mrs. Yewande Falugba commended the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri Okunola for his foresightedness and pro-activeness that gave birth to LASWELL.

Mrs. Yewande Falugba, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, explained that the Lagos State Employee Wellness Centre (LASWELL) was set up for the mental stability and management of common mental health disorders of Lagos State Public Servants.

She revealed that employees can only continue to contribute their quota to the attainment of a Greater Lagos when they are alive and in good health.

Falugba implored Civil Servants to take full advantage of the Centre as a way of regaining self-confidence, self-worth, and self-actualization, and even reintegration into the society rather than submitting to hopelessness, depression, substance abuse, or considering suicidal attempt as an option.

LASWELL Centre, with the motto “Total wellness for Public Servants”, is located within the Folarin Coker Staff Clinic at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

It will be regarded as a one-stop Wellness Centre where services where mental health counselling, psychotherapy, initial diagnostic assessment, organisational psychology, and referral will be provided by Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologist and Social Welfare Officers.