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Jan 08 2023

The National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in Nigeria: Role, Powers, and Governing Board

Oluwafikunayomi Odusola

Oluwafikunayomi Odusola

Author

The National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is a Nigerian organization created in view of the new mental health bill, with the primary aim of implementing health and substance abuse policies in Nigeria. In this article, we will explore the roles, powers, and governing boards of the council.

Roles of the National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

  • Proposing and implementing mental health and substance abuse policies
  • Promoting mental health and the provision of humane care, including treatment and rehabilitation
  • Promoting a culturally appropriate and accessible mental health care system involving both the public and private sectors
  • Protecting the rights and responsibilities of persons with mental and substance use disorders

Powers and Responsibilities of the National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

The National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has a number of core responsibilities, namely:

  • Formulating and developing policies and guidelines on mental health and substance abuse
  • Developing a national plan and program on these issues
  • Conducting regular monitoring and evaluation
  • Promoting collaboration among agencies and disciplines
  • Providing technical supervision and ensuring compliance with policies and programs
  • Collaborating with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with accreditation and other standards
  • Collaborating with other healthcare providers to ensure the best care for patients
  • Protecting the fundamental human rights and safety of patients
  • Facilitating access to educational and vocational opportunities for patients
  • Creating inter-agency committees and task forces as necessary
  • Enforcing compliance with the provisions of the act
  • Performing other duties as necessary for the effective implementation of the act
  • Imposing administrative sanctions on defaulting facilities
  • Entering and searching facilities
  • Enforcing compliance with the act
  • Enlightening and informing mental health and substance abuse service users of their rights
  • Ensuring integrated multidisciplinary services

Governing Board of the National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services:

  • Chairperson: retired mental health service provider with considerable experience in the field
  • Chief Executive/Executive Secretary: qualified and practicing psychiatrist with at least 10 years experience
  • Representative of the public sector: Medical Director of one of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospitals in Nigeria
  • President (or their representative) of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria
  • President (or their representative) of the Association of Psychiatric Nurses of Nigeria
  • President (or their representative) of the National Association of Clinical Psychologists of Nigeria
  • Chairman (or their representative) of the Association of Medical Social Workers of Nigeria
  • President (or their representative) of the National Association of Occupational Therapists
  • Representative of the Human Rights Commission
  • Representative of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency at the director level
  • Three other members appointed by the Minister of Health, including one woman, one representative of NGOs involved in advocacy, promotion, and rehabilitation, and one representative of service user (client) groups

Conclusion

The National Council for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services plays a vital role in promoting mental health and improving the services available to those suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues in Nigeria. Through its various powers and responsibilities, the council works to formulate and implement policies, promote mental health and humane care, protect the rights of patients, and collaborate with various stakeholders to ensure the best possible care for those in need. The council is governed by a diverse board of experts and representatives from various sectors, working together to address the mental health needs of the country.

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