By Yomi Ayeleso

The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said his government would continue to protect people living with mental Disabilities in the state with the enactment of the mental health service Act.

Fayemi said he believed strongly that catering for the needs of all members of the society regardless of physical, mental, or social status, “is indicative of the level of our commitment to delivering Universal Health Coverage to the populace”.

The governor who signed the bill into law on Monday in Ado-Ekiti maintained that the Act provides a framework to protect, provide care, and treat persons living with mental health disorders or substance abuse without hindrance.

He said, “Mental health legislation is essential for protecting the rights of people living with mental disorders. Such persons are usually subjected to stigma and marginalization which increases the likelihood of their human rights being violated.

“Mental health disorders can also affect a person’s ability to make the right decisions, hence the need to institute an enabling system that will cater to the needs of such persons, so they do not pose a risk to themselves or others.

“This Act provides the legal framework for handling critical issues such as the hospitalisation of persons with mental disorders, the provision of high-quality care, the improvement of access to care, the protection of civil rights, and the protection and promotion of rights in other critical areas such as education and employment.”

The law, according to Fayemi, will help in the provision of mental health facilities and the establishment of medical social work departments and units in selected secondary, and tertiary medical facilities in the State.

“It will ensure that people living with mental disorders have access to mental health care facilities in the State; and; ensure that every person received and admitted for treatment in a mental health facility is treated in accordance with the provisions of this Law,” he said.

Also, the Commissioner for Health, Oyebanji Filani, stated that the mental health law is required to ensure a regulatory framework for the provision of mental health services.

“This service would enable affordable, equitable and accessible care for patients, in an environment devoid of stigma, dehumanisation, and judgement. The State Mental Health Service will provide care to both voluntary and involuntary patients dealing with mental health disorders,” he said.

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