FG told to prioritise children’s mental health


The Executive Director, Vanguard Against Drug Abuse (VGADA) a Rehabilitation centre, Dr Hope Omeiza has urged governments at all levels to place priority on children’s mental health for the development of the Nation.

Omeiza said this in an interview on Monday in Abuja to mark the Year 2024 Children’s Day celebtation with the theme: “For every child, every right.”

VGADA Detox Centre, is a leading provider of addiction treatment and recovery services in Abuja.

Omeiza said that an estimated 21.5 million Nigerian children under the age of 18 were in need of mental health services according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) .

He emphasised that young people account for about seventy percent of the nation’s population, thus solving their challenges which include drug addiction associated with mental health.

He also said that there was need for the federal government to create an enabling environment to help the children and youths cope with societal challenges among others.

He added that prioritising children’s mental health would also give teachers and parents the opportunity to know the social functioning of the children and their immediate environment.

According to him, we must continue to emphasise the importance of mental health because until you are mentally healthy, you cannot contribute to your immediate environment.

“We must understand that contribution to our immediate society is a function of our mental health and we must collectively build a mentally healthy society across the country.

“Without mental health, productivity cannot be achieved. This is because of its impacts on learning and academic performance of the children , hence the need for us to prioritise it,” he said.

Omeiza said that there was also need to continually raise awareness on the consequences of drug abuse for children and the importance of improving mental health.

He also stressed the need for NGOs and CSOs to be active participants in improving mental health communities.

“It is important because these children will grow up to become community actors tomorrow and so, must be aware of the importance of these things.

“Government should continue to provide support for individuals by providing mental health services while making it accessible to them,” he said.

Omeiza however, urged children and youths to embrace the right decisions that would better their lives.

He  called on stakeholders to join forces to stop all forms of drug abuse and also urged children and youths to be properly guided not to get involved in such acts.

He also called on spirited individuals to join the oraganisation in raising awareness and advocating for increased investment in mental health services for children in Nigeria.