Determined to prevent and control mental disorders, a non-communicable disease that had suffered neglect in the past, the Federal Government has rolled out mental healthcare delivery service at community levels.
The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed this in a statement to mark 2013 World Mental Health Day on Wednesday.
According to him, a new National Policy on Mental Health Services Delivery was adopted at the recent National Council on Health (NCH).
It is aimed at standardizing training programmes for various mental healthcare sub-specialties in the universities, the upgrade of mental healthcare facilities at Federal hospitals and provision of specialized services for prompt diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of persons with mental disorders in communities, correctional facilities, detention centres and prisons nationwide.
At the moment, there are nine Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospitals across the country, besides the Departments of Psychiatry in all Federal Teaching Hospitals, as well as Psychiatry Units in all Federal Medical Centres, which provide specialized mental healthcare to Nigerians.
The Minister also announced the implementation of a National Mental Health Gap Action Programme (MhGAP), noting the significance of mental disorders on the economic and social impact of individuals, families and communities.
He said further that mental health was the central agenda of the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in May 2013, recalling that the meeting developed strategies for addressing the social and economic aspects of mental disorders, especially the stigma and discrimination associated with Pthem.
Chukwu therefore, enjoined Nigerians to show understanding to people with mental disorder, as he also called for increased public awareness in order to eradicate barriers to diagnosis and care.