MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATION AND POLICY: ROLES IN SURVIVING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. (Stephen Ayo)

The World Health Organization (WHO), defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Mental health according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life,
can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.


In Nigeria, mental health Lunacy Act (1958) still governs the treatment of mental illness today.
Nigeria’s mental health policy was first formulated in 1991 and it components were advocacy, promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. A Mental Health Act bill was introduced in
2003 which has not seen the break of day till date. On December 31, 2019 there was an initial report of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a novel coronavirus now called acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to World
Health Organization (WHO), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province China. On January 30,2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public emergency of international health concern and on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a
global, pandemic.


Now looking at the role of mental health legislation and policy in surviving the pandemic, we must first stratify the population into groups namely; children (0-15), young adults (16-21), adults (22-59) and the elderly (>60). Having done this, then we focus on the specifics of the location of the population in view. In Nigeria, key areas to consider which have a lasting impact on the populace includes; Ethnicity, Religion, Educational background and level of education and social economic class among others.


With the above being listed, we then move on to highlighting laws and policies appropriate for each area.
Ethnicity; Nigeria is a country with rich heritage, with over 250 ethnic groups and over 500 languages. In proposing laws and policies, you have to put into consideration different cultural
practices and beliefs of the various ethnic groups. So one would have to look at this area using the stratification of population groups above.
Religion; Nigeria is divided majorly into 3 religions namely; Muslim, Christian and Traditional
faiths. Each religion has its own peculiarities and some similarities might be present, so in laws and policies proposals this should be paid attention to.


Educational background and level of education; Intelligence is a scalable factor for high standard living, therefore it is expedient that both background and current level of education be
considered in appropriating laws and policies.
Social economic class; The social economic class of the populace should be considered also in appropriation of mental health laws and policies, as occupation and standard of living are determinants towards a good mental health.

In conclusion, the role of mental health legislation and policies in surviving the COVID-19 pandemic considering the following solutions listed above, we are sure to say it would suffice for a solution.

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Covid 19 Support
With the declaration of the COVID-19 as an international pandemic, Protostar Initiative has shifted our resources and efforts to supporting the social and mental health effects of the emergency while still achieving our mission.
Covid-19 Support
With the declaration of the COVID-19 as an international pandemic, Protostar Initiative has shifted our resources and efforts to supporting the social and mental health effects of the emergency while still achieving our mission.
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