Bauchi First Lady Inaugurates Mental Health Committee To Strengthen Mental Health

By Khalid Idris Doya

Wife of the Bauchi State Governor, Dr. Aisha Bala Mohammed has observed that mental health is not merely the absence of illness, it encompasses emotional well-being, resilience, and the ability to cope with life’s challenges. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, with depression being one of the leading causes of disability and the most common emotional problem experienced during adolescent age.

Dr. Aisha Bala Mohammed, while inaugurating the State Mental Health Steering Committee on Bauchi Friday, however noted with dismay that yet globally people with mental health conditions continue to receive inadequate services. 

Aisha who was represented by the overseeing permanent secretary ministry of women affairs Bauchi, Mr Dahiru Abdullahi sadi “It is no doubt that many Nigerians are going through different forms of mental health challenges, the WHO status report on mental health in Nigeria estimates that 20% or around 40 million Nigerians are affected by mental health conditions with only about 10% of those with seriously disabling mental health conditions receiving any treatment within the previous 12 months”.

She explained that traditionally, mental health services focused on secondary prevention, detecting and treating disorders after their onset, saying however that converging evidence highlights the potential of primary preventive and promotion strategies.

“By addressing mental health early, we can prevent worsening conditions, reduce suffering, and enhance overall well-being. I therefore call the attention of all relevant stakeholders and partners to come up with innovations and strategies on how best mental health interventions in communities would be strengthened”, she said.

The wife of the governor further explained that the establishment of the state mental health steering committee in Bauchi followed a directive from the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure proper coordination, strengthening and implementation of mental health interventions in the state.

Aisha Bala Mohammed reaffirmed that the ultimate goal of the Kauran Bauchi-led administration is to have a fully functional, result oriented, affordable, accessible and inclusive health services that focuses more on the most disadvantaged, particularly people living in the rural areas, and vulnerable populations such as women, children and the elderly.

“This government is fully aware of the challenges in the health sectors, including that of mental health services. We are also fully aware that, to have a fully functional health system, we must revitalize our health facilities, strengthen our coordination mechanism, improve our systems in terms of transparency and accountability, and invest heavily on our human resource for health and research”.

She expressed gratitude to Global Affairs Canada for providing funds through Plan International to set-up a mental health toll-free line in order to provide mental health and psychosocial support services to individuals in needs, especially adolescents. 

A’isha recalled with delight that Global Affairs Canada, through Plan International implemented the BORN Project during which women, adolescent girls and children were reached with high impact interventions such as provision of mama kits, renovation of health facilities, provision of hospital equipment and training of health providers to deliver quality health care in the state.

Also speaking, the senior project coordinator, Plan International, Nasir Musa Mohammed commended Bauchi state government for taking the bull by the horn to inaugurate the mental health steering committee to strengthen mental health, and commended Bauchi for taking the 1st position among states in the federation.

Mr. Nasir Mohammed who represented the Plan International Country Director, Mr. Charles Usie, explained that Bauchi would continue to be the shining light for other states in the federation to follow, hoping that the committee will live up to its expectation.

He said, “Mental Health is an integral component of health and well being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. It’s important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental health literally means our emotional, psychological and social well being of an individual. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”

The state commissioner of health Dr Adamu Umar Sambo represented by the permanent secretary Aliyu Babayo has in a message to the occasion, said that the project came into fruition following the extension of Governor Bala Mohammed hands of fellowship to partners, where the Global Affairs Canada took the advantage of the enabling environment created by the state government.

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