NGO advocates knowledge on mental health status, hails lawmaker for pushing initiative

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 29 June 2017 | 1,656 times

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•MHEI President Ameh Zion Abba.

President of the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), a non-governmental organisation based in Abuja, Ameh Zion Abba, has emphasised the need for every individual to be aware of their mental health status.

Speaking recently with News Express Correspondent in Abuja, on the purpose of the organisation, Ameh stressed that “apart from driving mental health, we also try to push strong campaign in the area of drugs and substance use in Africa.”

He added: “We are trying, as an organisation, to eradicate all the risk factors that can breed mental disorder in African societies. Every African must be aware of his mental health status to carry out their daily activities freely because it has been observed over the years that one out of every four Nigerians will suffer from mental disorder in their life time.”

Speaking on some of the achievements of the organisation since inception, Ameh said: “Many programmes have been done in different places in the country, including Abuja, Nasarawa, Keffi and others. We have also marshalled out some campaigns we would soon be carrying out in places like Lagos and Ondo to create awareness and sensitise Nigerians on their mental health.”

He also explained that the organisation has visited a number of IDP camps and refugee centres as well as some communities in the FCT. According to him, “We met with their Esus and other traditional rulers to help us pass the messages to their wards and districts, and we have enjoyed good response from them all.”

Ameh hailed Senator Oluremi Tinubu’s recent contribution in the Senate, having moved a motion for the creation of mental health centres in Nigeria. He said: “Part of our successes is what recently came up in the Senate when Senator Oluremi Tinubu who represents Lagos State pushed for the creation of mental Health Centers across the country. This is what we have been clamouring for in our advocacy.”

Ameh charged the Federal Government to consider the creation of mental health assessment centres across the geopolitical zones in the country given the scary number of people who are attempting and committing suicide in the country.

While highlighting the areas where the organisation is facing challenges, Ameh said: “We have not really gotten enough attention from government agencies to accept what we are doing or deemed it fit to recognise local NGOs. The place for government to appreciate psychosocial support from local NGOs is lacking. Local NGOs are being relegated while the international ones are always recognised.”

The MHEI President appealed to government to appreciate local NGOs and give them enabling environment to operate, adding that the government should, from the budget, support either morally or financially.

Source: News Express

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