Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, has said that government plans to commission a modern 500-bed capacity mental healthcare facility for admission and rehabilitation of psychiatric patients.
Abayomi made the disclosure on Wednesday while speaking at the Eko Wellness Fair. The event will hold from Saturday, May 1 to Friday, May 7 virtually.
He noted that mental health should be given priority, considering the pressure and other challenges that residents of the state are subjected to on a daily basis.
Abayomi disclosed that plans are ongoing to establish mental health units in all general hospitals while the government works on improving recreation facilities across the state to achieve Lagos State’s one health initiative.
Convener, Eko Wellness Network, Oyin Talabi, explained that the fair aims to connect people with wellness practitioners as a preventive instead of curative measure.
She noted that series of events in the nation since 2020 suggests that many Nigerians are in a survival mode, making it difficult for people to think critically for optimal productivity.
The fair tagged “My Mental Health Matters: For Our Collective Prosperity” will feature workshops by high-level Nigerian psychotherapists and wellness practitioners, cooking demonstrations of healthier food alternatives, art and therapy stimulations, and online shopping of healthy foods and lifestyle products by proudly Nigerian businesses.
According to Talabi, Nigeria is yet to scratch the surface in creating mental health awareness. She called for more engagement as there are still depths to cover in healthy living.
Talabi called on the government to enact laws that support the mental health of citizens as the “existing ones are archaic.”
“A part of the law permits arrest of an individual if found mentally unstable, and displaying in a public place instead of getting the person help,” Talabi said.
Zainab Abu, Vertical Lead, SMEs, Flutterwave, noted that the change in consumer behaviour since the pandemic informed their partnership with the fair.
“As partners we are helping all vendors display goods and facilitate online payment,” Abu said. “We are creating an avenue for them to display their goods virtually during the event and receive payment from every purchase. The platform allows them to put up pictures description and amount of products on sale.”
Africa Film Awards, the curators of the AMA-Awards, also partnered with the Eko Wellness Network to amplify awareness for mental health through a short film contest. The 7 top films will be screened on each day of the week-long fair.