Psychologists, NDLEA to partner on mental health

The Nigerian Psychological Association (NPA), FCT chapter, has sought for partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to ensure access to mental health in the agency and community at large.

The outgoing chairman, NPA, Emmanuel Alhassan, made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to NDLEA on Friday in Abuja. Alhassan said drug-related issues in the FCT, particularly among the youths, were something the NDLEA had been working on.

He, however, commended NDLEA on the achievement and success recorded so far in fighting drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the country.

According to him, we have seen your work, all you do and are still doing, we are psychologists and we have decided to let you know that we are ready to partner with NDLEA.

“It is good to have an association that is a reference point and particularly when you want to engage professionals and we are aware you have a call centre.

“One key area we tend to partner with you is volunteerism. We are happy to provide well trained psychologists to volunteer in providing counselling services in your agency or any services even at the call centre.

“We also have trained psychologists who need opportunities in terms of employment. If there are opportunities in your state offices where you want psychologists to actually engage them fully, we will be very happy to partner with you.

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“We will provide those we know are well trained, capable and ready to work and can go through your interview and employment processes,” he said.

Alhassan said that the association would also partner in terms of programmes such as outreach in engaging the public and creating awareness on drug prevention.

He said that the agency and the association could jointly plan outreaches on psycho-education in any part of the country.

“Yes, we are in the FCT and have the mandate to be able to interface with those we are close to here. And we will equally give feedback to the national body and so we are not speaking just on behalf of the FCT chapter, ” he said.

The chairman-elect, NPA, Victor Adejoh called on psychologists working in the agency to ensure they enrolled with the association.

Adejoh said that the enrollment was needed to guarantee continuous capacity building and training for them.

“When we have professionals out there who are not updating their skills and talents, that might pose a lot of concern for us as a community of professionals,” he said.

Adejoh also sought for partnership in the area of marking the year 2022 international mental health day with NDLEA and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a drug rapid assessment in Nigeria.

He said it would bring about a robust global event where issues of mental health would be tackled.

“It will be a great opportunity to have a partnership with you. This will also be an avenue to also understand where the burden of drug abuse and substances lies in the country.

“And as a professional body, we’ll see where needs are necessary. We believe this relationship will go a long way,” he said.

Responding, the director, drug demand reduction, (DDR), Ngozi Madubuike, appreciated the association for the innovative ideas brought to the table of the agency.

Madubuike said that the agency was looking forward to some of the ideas brought by NAP, adding that the association was a critical stakeholder.

“This partnership will be very robust. I am sure the NDLEA chairman will buy the ideas because we also need psychologists to work here. He recruited them majorly during the last recruitment.

“The one that moves me most is that even at state levels, we can still collaborate. We want people to join us and partner at the state level because that is where we have our counselling units,” she said.

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