Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Advocates for the Protection of Mental Health Rights. The Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba has called on Nigerians to ensure that the human rights of individuals with mental health conditions are respected and safeguarded.

Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, the Medical Director of the hospital, made this plea during a lecture organized by the hospital to mark World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2023 in Lagos.

World Mental Health Day, observed globally on October 10th annually, aims to raise awareness about mental health issues and mobilize efforts to support individuals facing mental health challenges.

This year, the theme is “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.“In his address, Dr. Owoeye emphasized that mental health is an integral component of overall health and well-being that requires protection. He urged against the violation of anyone’s human rights due to their mental health condition, highlighting that many individuals with such conditions face discrimination and rights violations in society.

Dr. Owoeye stressed that mental health is a universal right, ensuring every individual has access to high-quality mental healthcare services. He noted that 25 to 30 percent of the global population grapples with diagnosable mental health conditions, underlining that it could affect anyone at any time.

The Medical Director reaffirmed the hospital’s commitment to providing accessible and top-notch mental healthcare services in Nigeria, emphasizing that stable mental health is a fundamental right for all.

Guest speaker Dr. Olufumilayo Akinola, a Consultant Psychiatrist, underscored the significance of WMHD as an opportunity to enhance understanding and take action on mental health. She emphasized the urgent need to inform people that they have the right to access quality mental health services.

Dr. Akinola called for the provision of accessible, quality, and affordable mental health services nationwide, stressing that it is the collective responsibility of governments, individuals, families, organizations, and the public to value, protect, and promote mental health.

Despite ongoing advocacy efforts, there continue to be violations of the human rights of those with mental health conditions, Dr. Akinola lamented. Many individuals face exclusion and discrimination due to their mental health status.

She emphasized the need for society to recognize that individuals with mental health challenges are human beings who have unfortunately developed their condition due to specific circumstances.

Dr. Akinola also highlighted the importance of implementing the Mental Health Act, establishing robust social support systems, early intervention, and encouraging help-seeking behavior as key strategies to promote stable mental health in the country.