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LASG moves to tackle staff mental health, initiates preventive measures

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

As part of an effort to promote a comprehensive health system and ensure civil servants in Lagos State attain better mental health at work often, the Government has established Lagos State Employee Wellness Centre and started training staffs on strategies to manage their psychological wellbeing and their colleagues at work.

The government said that the Lagos State Employee Wellness Centre (LASWELL) was set up to stabilise workers mentally and manage common mental health disorders that could arise among the state public servants,

Speaking at a webinar session organised to create awareness and sensitive civil servants on LASWELL, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Yewande Falugba, stated that the move became necessary when the government realised that employees can only contribute their quota to the Greater Lagos initiative when they have sound health and mentally alert to work.

And to achieve the goal, Falugba stated that the government decided to build a wellness champions’ team with selected staff who would manage the overall psychological wellbeing of its workforce.

While stating that the staff would be trained often on new technologies of managing wellbeing among the workforce, she stated that the initiative underscores the high premium the present administration places on staff welfare inline with its T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, particularly at this present time when the world battling to with a global health crisis, Covid-19 Pandemic.

“The fact that the rate of depression, hopelessness and lack of self-actualization has assumed unprecedented dimension in our society today is enough to invest in the system. As a responsible government, we cannot pretend to be uninterested in this. We are taking this step to nip the development in the bud”.

Falugba further stated that use of this non-pharmaceutical method of human reintegration has proven to be very potent in different climes across the world.

While submitting that the sensitization is to create awareness about the existence and functionality of Lagos State Employee Wellness Centre before the official launch for the use of all Public Servants, she said the centre was set up under the collaborative management of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development.

The permanent secretary revealed that the LASWELL Centre at the Folarin Coker Staff Clinic, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja is a one-stop Wellness Centre where mental health counselling, psychotherapy, initial diagnostic assessment, organisational psychology and referral will be provided by Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologist and Social Welfare Officers.

Falugba implored staffs to take full advantage of the Centre as a way of regaining self-confidence, self-worth and self-actualization, and even reintegration to the society rather than submitting to hopelessness, depression, substance abuse or considering suicidal attempt as an option.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr. Olusegun Ogboye disclosed that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been directed to nominate six members of staff each as wellness champions who will help in reaching out to members of staff who need help.

Ogboye noted that the nominated Wellness champions from all MDAs have been trained ahead of the activation of the centre, to identify and support other staff who require care to access service at the centre.

The Permanent Secretary also urged members of staff who may be interested in becoming wellness champions, but not nominated, to signify their interest by volunteering themselves through their various MDAs.

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