The FCT chapter of the Nigerian Psychological Association (NPA) has sought for partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to ensure access to mental health services in the agency and community at large. The outgoing Chairman of the NPA, Mr. Emmanuel Alhassan, called for this when he paid a courtesy visit to the NDLEA on August 5th, 2022 in Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), particularly among the youth.
He commended the agency 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.” This is not a novel move as psychologists in the developed world often work with the police and drug law enforcement agencies.
Alhassan says it is good to have an association like theirs as reference.
He said, “It is good to have an association that is a reference point and particularly when you want to engage professionals. We are aware you have a call center. 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 center. 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. We will provide those we know are well trained, capable and ready to work and can go through your interview and employment processes.” Alhassan said that the association would also like to partner with the agency in terms of programs such as outreach in engaging the public and creating awareness on drug abuse and prevention.
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Alhassan said that the agency and the association could jointly plan outreach on psycho-education in any part of the country. “Yes, we are in the FCT and we have a 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. Meanwhile, the Chairman-elect of the NPA, Mr. Victor Adejoh, called on psychologists working in the agency to ensure they enrolled with the association.
Adejoh said that the enrollment was needed and paramount to guarantee continuous capacity building and training for them. He said, “When we have professionals out there who are not updating their skills and talents, that might pose a lot of concerns for us as a community of professionals,” he said. Adejoh also seek for partnership to commemorate the year 2022’s International Mental Health Day with the NDLEA and the World Health Organization (WHO) for a drug rapid assessment in Nigeria.
Adejoh said the commemoration will result in a robust global event.
He said that the commemoration would bring about a robust global event where issues of mental health will be thoroughly and objectively discussed. “It will be a great exploit to have 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.