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Mental healthcare: Lagos creates helpline, expands access to treatment

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….Seeks collaboration with stakeholders, investors in agric

Lagos State, COVID-19,

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Lagos State Government has established a mental health helpline- ‘Lagos Lifeline – 0909000MIND (09090006463)’ to provide citizens with access to mental health information and help including telephone counseling, social support and referral where appropriate.

Also, the state government has called on stakeholders and investors in the agriculture landscape especially those in the private sectors to collaborate with government to boost food production and security.

On the mental health issue, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi spoke on the occasion to commemorate Year 2020 World Mental Health Day.

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While reviewing the implementation of various mental health policies, programmes and projects initiated by the State government to improve citizens access to mental health care, he noted that the drive towards ensuring that all people have access to mental health services that will allow for early prompt diagnosis and qualitative care and treatment has been reinvigorated with the establishment of the helpline.

“The Lagos Lifeline is designed to bridge the gap in the availability of mental health service. The service provides simple counselling and psychotherapy for citizens who are either seeking care for themselves or a loved one through the use of existing technology.

“Manned by trained counsellors, the Lifeline also provides access to information, counselling services, referrals and networking and other social intervention services such as domestic violence, sexual assault and substance abuse”, the commissioner said.

He explained that the service provided by ‘Lagos Lifeline’ is available from Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am and 5pm daily adding that citizens can also access the lifeline by sending email to help@lagosmind.org

While calling citizens to engage the lifeline to seek mental health support and care, the Commissioner stated that the aim of setting up the service is to improve access to simple diagnostic, counselling and referral services for residents, either as first point-of-call, or for follow-up care,

He noted that the goals of the service are to alleviate the strain on existing public health resources, serve as a Mental Health campaign Feedback system and create valuable data points that can be used to track prevalence and cycle of care for Mental Health in Lagos state.

“The theme for this year’s World Mental Day celebration – ‘Mental Health For All; Greater Investment- Greater Access. Everyone, Everywhere” is apt for us in Lagos State as it tallies with our effort to increase and improve access to mental health care for all and gives us another opportunity to advocate for Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health”, commissioner said.

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Abayomi also disclosed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has given approval for the expansion of Behavioral Medicine Ward in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH to improve access to specialist care.

On agric collaboration, the state government made the call at the weekend on the occasion of Year 2020 World Food Day Celebration in the state.

The governor, who was represented by the State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya noted that the state government has been encouraging increased investment and the empowerment of women and youths in the agricultural sector in order to increase food production, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty and boost income generation.

“We are committed to ensuring steady and sustainable increase in food production through the various policies being implemented as well as programmes been driven by partnerships and collaborations such as the National FADAMA Development Project and Agro- Processing, Productivity, Enhancing and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS).

“This year has been an exceptional year with the COVID-19 pandemic and as such this year’s World Food Day celebration is indeed special as the need for adequate food supply and proper storage of food for times of emergencies cannot be over emphasized.

“According to World Food Programme (WFP), it is projected that if the current trend continues unchecked, the number of hungry people globally would increase to 840 million by 2030 hence the importance of the theme of this year’s celebration, “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together,” he added.

Vanguard

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