The Federal Government has inaugurated two policy documents and a National Mental Health Technical Working Group to reduce the prevalence of suicide and mental health conditions in the country.
Prof. Ali Pate, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, inaugurated the documents on Wednesday during a ministerial round table on mental health in Abuja.
According to Pate, the National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework (NSPSF 2023-2030) and the National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework would reduce rates of suicide, and address mental health challenges, especially amongst young people.
"The purpose of this NSPSF is to establish a framework for reducing the rate of suicide.
“By instituting cost-effective programmes, health and socio-economic interventions that change behaviour and lifestyle, and address the population at large as well as vulnerable groups.
“It involves a whole series of activities, ranging from the environmental control of risk factors and means for suicide, to early identification and effective treatment of people with mental health conditions.
“Establishment of suicide prevention helplines and integration of care at community and primary health level as well as responsible reporting of suicide by the media,” he said.
The minister, therefore, stressed the need for Nigerians and all stakeholders to support the implementation of the document to reduce deaths from suicidal behaviour and improve the nation’s health.
The Minister of Youths Development, Dr Jamila Ibrahim emphasised the need to ensure that all Nigerians have access to mental health services without financial hardship.
Ibrahim added that plans are underway to establish a professional department in the ministry that would handle issues bordering on youths' well-being.
Also, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said: “We know that stigma and discrimination around suicide and mental health are significant contributors to people not seeking the help they need.
"So, the NSPSF presents a significant step towards reducing side effects by training health and care workers in mental health and suicide prevention and better integrated mental health services in the care programs.”