Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, on Monday, signed into law a bill on mental health service, which will help protect, provide, care and treat persons living with mental health disorders or substance abuse.
The Governor stressed the importance of ensuring that people with mental disorders have access to appropriate care, adding that catering for the welfare of all members of the society regardless of their physical, mental or social status was indicative of the level of commitment to delivering universal health coverage.
He said the law would also save them from unnecessary stigma and marginalisation which increases the likelihood of their human rights being violated, adding that critical issues of hospitalisation and provision of high quality care among others would also be covered.
Fayemi said the core objectives of the mental health law include the establishment of purpose-built mental health institutions and medical Social Work Department and units in selected secondary and tertiary medical facilities, as well as guarantee the protection of persons suffering from mental disorder or illness and substance abuse in the state.
Other objectives of the law include ensuring that every person facing mental disorders have access to mental health care facilities by receiving and being admitted for treatment in a designated facility.
Fayemi further stated, “As I sign this bill into law, I am fully convinced that the people of Ekiti State will be the best for it. This law is another promise kept in our pursuit to deliver a qualitative, people-centred healthcare solution to Ekiti Kete that leaves no one behind.
“It will complement other efforts towards ensuring adequate health and social protection for our people, and we are grateful to God for the privilege of being the instrument through which his love for the vulnerable amongst us is demonstrated.
”Earlier, the wife of the governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, expressed appreciation to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye and his colleagues; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda and the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Bamji Filani for the policy framework and speedy passage of the bill. She noted the difficulty that might arise from driving the various initiatives of the administration without necessary legal and policy framework.
The First Lady explained that as Chair of Gender-Based Violence Management Committee, she knows there is a link between mental health and gender-based violence, adding that , that was the reason she had remained a strong advocate for a mental health bill.
Funminiyi Afuye, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, said the new law has made the state stand out as a clear leader in legislative governance which concerns the health and well-being of the people.