Lagos Opens Mental Health Wellness Centre For Public Servants
Lagos State government has unveiled a state-of-the-art Employee Wellness Centre called ‘LASWELL Centre’ to address the mental health needs of its workforce for effective service delivery. The Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, who today unveiled the Centre located within the premises of Folarin Coker Staff Clinic inside the State Secretariat Complex, Alausa-Ikeja, stated that the LASWELL Centre has been structured to enhance the welfare of Lagos State Public Servants to function effectively and attain satisfactory standards of mental stability in the discharge of their duties. Muri-Okunola explained that the Centre which will be open to only public servants has been scheduled to provide a wide range of social support services and interventions through a community-based, inter-disciplinary mobile treatment team comprising of case managers, peer support workers, psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, nurses and vocational specialists.
He added that the Centre will operate Call-In Services, whereby members of staff would have the opportunity to seek help through designated phone lines twice weekly at specified times. “The Centre is therefore structured to enhance the welfare of Lagos State Public Servants to function effectively, with the help of professionals, as well as ensure that Officers attain satisfactory standards of mental stability as well as emotional/psychological well-being”, the Head of Service emphasised. While commending the efforts of the State Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development in establishing the centre, Muri-Okunola restated the commitment of the Sanwo-Olu led administration to the provision of social support infrastructure towards ensuring the emotional stability of Public Servants. In his words: “It is my candid view that such commitment to the provision of social support infrastructure on the part of the State Government towards ensuring the emotional stability of Public Servants would go a long way, not only in boosting the overall well-being of members of staff individually, but also in enhancing the effectiveness and overall productivity of the State workforce”. The Head of Service, therefore, urged members of staff to feel free to visit the centre when necessary, noting that mental health services are rendered by licensed professionals in various disciplines.
“This Centre was not established to create fear or stigmatise anyone who may be at risk or maybe experiencing prodromal symptoms of illness, acute disorders, remission or individuals who may not necessarily appear physically ill but may be challenged by daily routine functioning, demands and expectations on them either at work or at home; as well as Officers that may be overwhelmed by emotional relationship problems and other mental or psychological issues”, Muri-Okunola added. Speaking earlier, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi commended the Head of Service for the initiative, which is the beginning of important policy on mental health in the State. He noted that the establishment of a functional wellness centre is in line with the present administrations’ T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda and the promotion of mental health as well as the well-being of members of staff and Lagosians at large, which is prioritised within the State’s development agenda for Health. In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that the LASWELL Centre is an out-patient mental health and social care service for employees of Lagos State Civil Service, established to create integrated evidence-based, recovery-oriented service delivery models that will promote resilience and wellbeing of public servants. Dr. Ogboye stated further that services that will be rendered in the wellness centre include counselling services to all employees, suicide prevention support services and initiative that reduces stigma, alcohol and drug use intervention, assessment and referral for treatment of medical disorders as well as rights protection of employees with mental illness and awareness. He added that services at the Centre will be open to all civil servants between 9a.m and 4p.m daily and they can also book an appointment by calling the on 07025002756 or email on laswellcenter@lagosstate .gov.ng