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The Lagos State government is set to establish a mental health centre for its workforce, in a bid to cater for their mental needs, an official has said.

In a statement released by Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, the spokesperson of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, the government has concluded plans to activate the centre.

The centre, Lagos State Employee Wellness (LASWELL) centre, will provide services around mental wellness to the entire staff of the state government.

Announcing the establishment of the centre at a zoom conference, Olusegun Ogboye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health said the state has set the groundwork for the development of sustainable mental health care programs and services that will ensure improved health outcomes and positively impact on productivity in the workforce.

“The Lagos State Government recognizes that its employees are its most important resource. Research has shown that when people are happier, they are more creative and more productive in their personal and work lives. We know that when employees thrive, the entire Lagos State community benefits. So, the LASWELL Centre was established to support Lagos State employees with both professional and personal concerns that may impact their overall wellbeing,” he said.

LASWELL Centre is located at the First Floor of the Folarin Coker Staff Clinic, and mental health services at the centre will be provided by licensed professionals in various disciplines, Mr Ogboye said.

Mr Ogboye urged the staff of the Lagos State government to take advantage of the mental wellness centre to access professional help and care.

Speaking on the centre, Yewande Falugba, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social development said the centre was borne out of the initiative of the Head of Service to create a permanent solution to address mental health issues among members of staff in order to improve productivity.

The services provided at the wellness center include: Mental Health counselling, Organisational psychology as well as Diagnostic Assessment and Referral.

Mrs Falugba added that the centre will have a team of health care professionals including social workers, psychologists and psychiatric Nurses.

She said the Sanwo-Olu led administration will not relent in executing policies that will promote sustainable social development.

Adejoke Abiodun, a consultant psychiatrist and a guest speaker at the conference said prompt identification of mental health related problems is essential.

Referencing a recent survey on anxiety in the workplace, Mrs Abiodun said people with anxiety have difficulties to cope with common job-related situations like meeting deadlines, maintaining personal and professional relationships, participating in meetings, managing staff and dealing with problems that may arise.

“It is very important to recognize depression and anxiety disorder and promptly link with help so that productivity will not be affected. Many members of staff, (who) are having mental health issues, have fear of sharing their disorder with anyone at work because they are afraid of being stigmatized or labelled weak,” she said.

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