As a way of supporting students' well-being, Zion Abba, the President of Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative, a non-governmental organisation has urged the government at all levels to prioritise mental health in schools across the country.
Abba said this in Abuja at the Premier Interschool Dialogue on Mental Health, Drug Prevention and Disability Inclusion in commemoration of the 2023 Children’s Day Celebration.
According to him, prioritising mental health would give teachers the opportunity to know the social functioning of students and their immediate environment.
"We must continue to emphasise the importance of mental health because until you are mentally healthy, you cannot contribute to your immediate environment.
”We must understand that contribution to our immediate society is a function of our mental health and we must collectively build a mentally healthy society across the country.
"Without mental health, you cannot be productive because of its impacts on learning and academic performance of the students, hence the need for us to prioritise it", he said.
The Director of the Education Support Service, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Lydia Giginna, advised students to embrace the right decisions that would better their lives.
While calling on stakeholders to join forces to stop all forms of drug abuse and also urged students to be properly guided not to get involved in such acts.
Giginna added that the ministry had also introduced the guardians and counselling section in schools to guide and protect students from partaking in illicit drugs.
“When the children are in the right hand of teachers to guide and direct them, they will be better for it and our country can be great for that,” she said.
In the same vein, Christine Bestman, Mental Health Team Lead, Leprosy Mission Nigeria, an NGO, called on the government to provide support for persons with mental health problems.
”We must continue to raise awareness on the consequences of drug abuse for children and the importance of improving mental health.
“We must also stress the need to be active participants in improving mental health communities.
“It is important because these children will grow up to become community actors tomorrow and so, must be aware of the importance of these things.
“Government should continue to provide support for individuals by providing mental health services while making it accessible to them,” she said.
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