By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The alarming rate of people with mental health challenges may become a thing of the past as the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta has launched a stress helpline to address the issue.
With this development, reprieve seems to have come the way of those suffering from mental health disorders and their families, and it will remove the stigma associated with the challenges.
The helpline number 09079904429 was launched in commemoration of the 2019 World Mental Health Day organised by the hospital in partnership with Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun State Council, and it was held at the NUJ Secretariat, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, on Thursday.
The World Mental Health Day with the theme ‘Mental health promotion and suicide prevention’ had in attendance professionals, nurses association, experts in healthcare delivery, civil society group, students from tertiary institutions and secondary schools, and many others at the event
In his address, the Provost and Medical Director, Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Dr. Timothy Adebowale revealed that the helpline being the first series across South-West and Nigeria indeed would be effective on 24 hours daily as from Monday October 14th, 2019 for prospective users.
He further stated that though the line would not be toll-free, a token would be charged by the service provider to enhance productivity. “We are making use of only one number for now, but we will adjust on the feedback and usefulness after a while.
“Since it is just the beginning, the helpline is for those in need of professional experts to talk to, believing that maybe in a later time, the service provider might decide to make it free based on their discretion.
“The hospital has been in partnership with various tertiary institutions in the state to checkmate the increase in mental disorder among their students and to eradicate the spread to minimums level.
“On the aspect of supernatural, close to 50 per cent of our patients had gone to traditional healers, churches and many other means, before coming to Aro. It is a reflection and perception on mental health by the public.
“There is no evidence that supports that it is caused by any natural means or spell. That’s is why we have been encouraging people to seek professional counsel to address the menace, and we will not relent until this is achieved.”
Also speaking at the event, Chairman, Caretaker Committee of NUJ, Comrade Kayode Taiwo, commended the management of the hospital for living up to expectation in tackling the menace in the society especially among the teeming youths.
He expressed that the theme of the celebration was very important because of the impact of Nigerians education, talented youths across the world. Nigerians are active in positive development but are faced with challenges of negativity.
“The increasing rate of suicide mission in the country is worrisome, the development is very scarring. God should find lasting solution to such act of taking ones life without cause.
“We in NUJ will continue to partner and support in ensuring a suicide free Nigeria, through reportage in our various media houses. Let us make use of the helpline by telling others, as I believed that experts are always available to help,” Comrade Taiwo stated.