The bill to protect persons with mental health and substance abuse problems passed second reading in the Senate on Thursday. The bill is titled “A Bill for an Act to Protect Persons with Mental Health Needs and Establishment of National Commission for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for Effective Management of Mental Health in Nigeria and for other Related Matters, 2019.”
The passage was a sequel to a presentation of the bill by the sponsor, Ahmadu Abubakar (APC, Adamawa State), at plenary. The bill which was first presented on the floor of the Senate on January 23, seeks to provide direction for a coherent response to mental health and substance abuse victims.
Presenting the report, Mr. Abubakar said it would protect the rights and freedom of persons with mental health and substance abuse problems as well as ensure a better quality of life and better service delivery. It also seeks to provide a framework for legalization to take care of issues around mental health.
He said the records show mental health problems account for a sixth of health burden worldwide. He said the bill will promote collaboration among agencies for the implementation of policies for mental health and substance abuse as well as provide technical supervision and ensure general compliance.
In his remark, Shehu Sani described the bill as an intervention on the state of mental health in Nigeria today. The bill was thereafter, passed for second reading and referred to the Senate Committee on Health for further legislative work, to report back in two weeks.