November 13, 2019

World Mental Health Day: Bet9ja advocates improved care to boost mental health services

By Chioma Obinna

Irked by increasing incidences of suicide in Nigeria, one of the leading betting companies in the country,  Bet9ja has called for increased awareness and treatment as well as social support for people with mental disorders with a view to making the society a better place for all.

Making the call at a mental health conference in Lagos, Managing Director, Bet9ja Ayo Ojuroye said: “This year, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has decided to make “suicide prevention” the main theme of World Mental Health Day.

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Suicide is a global public health problem that deserves the attention of all the actors in the field of mental health, including scientific and professional organizations, organizations for mental health users and their families, and universities. It deserves the attention of everyone, and the government should craft policies and directives aimed at establishing strategies to prevent suicide and promote the public’s mental health.”

Ojuroye said as an organisation, Bet9ja is partnering with the organisers of the conference to demonstrate how the company complementing the government’s efforts in creating awareness on mental health to reduce the various consequences associated with it.

“We are using this medium to also promote responsible gambling initiative that advocates against addiction in gambling that can lead to mental health issues. This is a core focus of our strategic corporate social responsibility in our thematic campaign of ‘MORE THAN A BET’. Ojuroye added.

The object of making suicide prevention the theme of World Mental Health Day in 2019 is to attract the attention of governments so that the issue might be given priority in public health agendas in Nigeria, says Bet9ja.

“Getting people to talk about a subject that tends to be taboo and about which many holds mistaken, and prejudiced ideas will help people to learn about the risk factors so that they can identify and learn to address them,” Ojuroye added.

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Various stakeholders at the conference reiterated that suicide is preventable and can, therefore, be avoided, which is why all our efforts and public policies should focus on prevention. However, oftentimes, people who suffer from mental illness lack access to mental health services, sometimes because there are no structured systems to support them.

The conference called for everyone’s help, to be advocates of mental health in their capacity no matter how little to reduce and eventually eradicate the rising issues of suicide in Nigeria especially among the youths.