The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has called on the Association of Psychiatrists to embark on public enlightenment and education campaigns on issues of mental health, especially to curtail cases of drugs abuse, depression, and suicide.
Dr. Muhammed Kawu, acting secretary of FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, who represented the minister, made the call at the 52nd Annual General Scientific Meeting (AGSM) 2021 of the association, with the theme, “Mental Health and National Development in Nigeria: A Call For Action,” held on Tuesday in Abuja.
Bello said that mental health issue in Nigeria is often not given the prominence it deserves, because patients and their families usually choose not to speak out or seek professional help for fear of stigmatisation.
“It is, therefore, imperative that the association of Psychiatrists embark on a public sensitisation campaign to shed more light on the issues of mental health.
“I will, therefore, like to underscore the importance of this meeting which has brought together leading Psychiatrists from within and outside the country. There is no doubt that this gathering will advance the frontiers of Psychiatrist practice in Nigeria,” Bello said.
Earlier, the President of the association, Prof. Taiwo Sheikh, said the national development of any country rests on the well-being of its citizens.
“In the same vein, we know that there is no health without mental health. It is not only an adage but a stark reality. I believe our erudite academics and highly experienced clinicians are here and ready to dwell thoroughly into this theme that aptly captures the present state of our country,” she stated.