Mental Health Day: UN advocates stronger investments in services

Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Target 3.4 seeks that by 2030, there will be reduction by one third in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promotion of mental health and well-being.

Within Target 3.4, however suicide rate is observed as indicator of premature mortality , therefore suicide is a global public health problem.

United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message to the commemoration of World Mental Health Day has however called for greater action on the parts of all stakeholders to tackle issues of mental health across the world.

According to him, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29, noting that mental health has been neglected for too long.

The UN Secretary-General pointed that stronger investment is needed as he expressed worry that ‘every 40 seconds someone makes the tragic decision that life is no longer worth living’

At the Commemoration of the event in the premises of the United Nations Information Centre, Nigeria, in Lagos, Experts and Stakeholders also expressed concern that suicide affects people of all age groups in all countries, and that 800 000 people die by suicide every year.

They also expressed concern that 79% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries as there are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide.

Those who spoke at the event included representative of the World Health Organisation, Dr Memuna Esan, a Chief Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Mrs Funmi Akinola and Dr Olu Ajomale of the Lagos Mental Health Desk.

They unanimously advocate effective prevention measures that would restrict access to means of suicide, school-based interventions, follow-up care and community support and training of health workers in early identification and treatment of mental health cases