FG inaugurates policy documents to reduce suicide, mental health prevalence

FG inaugurates policy documents to reduce suicide, mental health prevalence

By Justina Auta
The Federal Government on Wednesday inaugurated two policy documents and a National Mental Health Technical Working Group to reduce prevalence of suicide and mental health conditions in the country.


Ali Pate, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, inaugurated the documents during a ministerial round table on mental health in Abuja.

Pate said the National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework (NSPSF 2023-2030) and the National Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework would reduce rates of suicide, address mental health challenges especially amongst young people.

”The purpose of this NSPSF is to establish a framework for reducing the rate of suicide.

“By instituting cost-effective programmes, health and socio-economic interventions that change behaviour and lifestyle, and address the population at large as well as vulnerable groups.

“It involves a whole series of activities, ranging from the environmental control of risk factors and means for suicide, to early identification and effective treatment of people with mental health conditions.

“Establishment of suicide prevention helplines and integration of care at community and primary health level as well as responsible reporting of suicide by the media,” he said.

The minister, therefore, stressed the need for Nigerians and all stakeholders to support the implementation of the document to reduce deaths from suicidal behaviour and improve nation’s health.

Dr Jamila Ibrahim, the Minister of Youths Development, stressed the need to ensure that all Nigerians had access to mental health services without financial hardship.

Ibrahim added that plans were underway to establish a professional department in the ministry that would handle issues bordering on youths’ wellbeing.

Also,  Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO), said: “We know that stigma and discrimination around suicide and mental health are significant contributors to people not seeking the help they need.

” So, the NSPSF presents a significant step towards reducing side effects by training health and care workers in mental health and suicide prevention, and better integrated mental health services in the care programs.

Similarly, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary -General, United Nations, decried the prevalence of suicide globally, adding that over 7,000 people commit suicide yearly, which is always devastating to the families, friends and communities.

Mohammed attributed it to the gap in accessing mental health services, stigma, discrimination and lack of support to persons with mental health issues.

She said: “We must break the taboo on mental health conversations.

Open dialogue is crucial to dispel stigma and foster understanding.

“By encouraging open discussions, we can create a supportive environment for those suffering in silence.

“At the individual level, as friends, partners, parents, colleagues and neighbours, we can all do our part by checking in and reaching out to someone who may be struggling.

“It is important to listen with an open mind, offer support and encouragement as the need to seek for the healthcare worker.

We must work together to prioritise mental health in our communities.

While reiterating their commitment, Mohammed said the documents would contribute to a more inclusive, healthy and sustainable world.

On her part, Mrs Toyin Saraki, the Founder, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, stressed the need to prioritise interventions on mental health to achieve the SDG goal three target.


Lateef Sheikh, a Psychiatrist and keynote speaker, noted that Nigeria had less than 300 practicing psychiatrists to cater for the mental health needs of the huge population.

Sheikh therefore recommended the implementation of government instruments like the policies, strategic plans and legislation to address mental health challenges in the country.

He stressed the need for an integrated and comprehensive care package, mental health financing, data mining and finance to address mental health in the country.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Muhammad Suleiman Tola