The House of Representatives has called for higher attention to mental health issues, especially, the Federal Ministry of Health to collaborate with relevant Health Institutions to ensure that research on mental health is put into practice to ensure evidence-based care to Nigerians.
Also, the House has mandated its Committee on Healthcare Services to evaluate the implementation of the content of the Mental Health Act and conduct a needs assessment of the full implementation of the Act.
In a resolution on a motion on Wednesday, the House further called on the Federal Ministry of Health to in conjunction with relevant institutions, establish a centre where people with mental health can be counselled.
Sp9nsor of the motion on “Need to Prioritise and implement the Provisions of the Mental Health Law 2021 to tackle suicide and suicidality in Nigeria, Hon. Uchenna Clement Nwachukwu. noted that the responsibility of the government is to protect and safeguard the lives of Nigerians.
Lamenting the rising cases of suicide in the country, he recalled that on 12 July 2023, a teenager took her life after being raped in Oyo State, one out of many cases of suicide underreported and mostly unreported in Nigeria due to social stigmatisation.
He said “ThisDay Newspapers reported an alarming rise in suicide deaths between 2022 and March 2023, It emphasizes that suicide is seen as a taboo in most parts of the country and hidden by families due to cultural factors”, adding that fresh cases of suicide as published in the print media have a greater proportion of youth as victims.
In his remarks before referring the matter to the Joint Committee Health Services and Health Institutions for further legislative action, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu said it is time to see how people with such issues can be helped.