Key figures in mental health issues, on Tuesday, highlighted the pressing need to tackle the stigma associated with mental illness, stressing the significance of acknowledging mental health as a universal human right.
This call to action was voiced by speakers and advocates at the 2023 Mental Health Day Celebration, organized by all 22 Rotary clubs in Ibadan, Oyo state district 9125.
The clubs included Rotary Club of Ibadan City Central, Rotary Club of Ibadan, Rotary Club of Iyaganku, Ibadan Prestige, Ibadan Ring Road, Ibadan Agodi, Ibadan Oritamefa, Ibadan Jericho Metro, Ibadan Akobo, Ibadan Pathfinder, Ibadan Gold, Ibadan Oluyole Estate, Ibadan Challenge, Ibadan Ologuneru, Ibadan West and Ibadan Elebu Metro.
Also the event witnessed an individual donation from Rotarian Kolawole Samuel MD and Assitant District Governor of District 9125.
The event, held at the University of Ibadan, was themed ‘Mental Health Is A Universal Human Right: Campaign Against Suicide and Use of Drug and Illicit Substance.’
Dr. Alero Adegbolagun, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the University Health Service, University of Ibadan, addressed the issue of stigma saying “Stigma remains a significant barrier to mental health care. We must confront the stereotypes and discrimination that prevent individuals from seeking help. Mental illness is not a choice; it’s a health condition that deserves empathy, support, and understanding.”
Also, Dr. Kunle Adesokan, a medical consultant and psychiatrist shifted the focus to the broader perspective of mental health as a human right:
Adesokan said that: “Mental health is not a privilege for the few; it is a universal human right. Just as we advocate for physical health and well-being, we must advocate for mental health. Access to quality mental health care should be a basic right for every individual, regardless of their background or circumstances.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Aare Alawo Ekun Ofiki of Ofiki Land and President of Rotary Club Of Ibadan City Central, Rotarian Oba Adeoye Gbenga Adigun emphasized the global significance of the occasion.
Oba Adéòye Adigun who’s also the Chairman of the Planning Committee for the World Mental Health Day event said: “Today, we unite as a global community to recognize the profound importance of mental health in our lives. World Mental Health Day serves as a beacon, guiding us toward a world where mental well-being is a universal right, not a privilege.
“It is our collective responsibility to break the chains of stigma and ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, receives the support and understanding they deserve.”
The event also saw the presence of notable figures, including Rotarian. Shittu Kolawole, President of Rotary Club of Ibadan, and Rotarian Olaniyi Okin of Iyaganku-Ibadan, who serves as the Assistant Zonal Coordinator of Zone 1, among others.
Prior to this event, Rotary Club members had participated in a 1km walk as part of their campaign against suicide, drug misuse, and illicit substances. They walked from Bodija market to the University of Ibadan’s Sultan Bello Dome.