By Paul Efiong, Abuja
The Federal Government in collaboration with Sunshine Series Organisation (SSO), on Tuesday launched Mental Health Helpline project, aimed at assisting mental health patients to receive medical and psychological attention.
Speaking at the event in Abuja, Sen. George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs said the project called Mind Wheel Project, was a “Toll-Free Line-112”,
Akume said the core objectives of the initiative was to offer help to mentally disordered persons to reduce mental distress resulting from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in particular.
“ This historic launch of the Mind Wheel Toll-Free Line is aimed at providing a sustainable social change and development in mental health and well-being of Nigerians.
“This is a collaboration with the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and the private sector, “ Akume explained.
According to him, the burden of mental health challenges in Nigeria is enormous, especially during the coronavirus pandemic era.
He said his ministry among others and the SSO was set to provide Nationwide free tele-counselling services, following the adverse and worsening psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on persons infected and affected.
Akume said the World Health Organisation (WHO), has welcomed the initiative and was ready to support the objectives of the MWP.
“According to WHO, one in every four Nigerians, comprising about 50 million people are suffering from one form of mental illness or the other, “ he said.
Miss Aisha Bubah, the founder, Sunshine Series Mind Wellness Organisation, said the project which began in 2020, has reached over 5,000 Nigerians, directly and indirectly through counselling, capacity building, online webinars and psychic educational materials.
Bubah said the project needed more partners as mental health had suffered severe underfunding globally, especially in low and middle-income countries.
“The world economy loses up to $1 trillion US dollars in productivity due to common mental disorders like depression and anxiety, “ she said.
Also, Brig.-Gen. (Rtd) Muhammad Marwa, Chairman National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), commended the founder SSO for the efforts to address mental health in the society.