WMHD 2022: Experts highlight importance of telemedicine in consumers’ mental health

*Economic recession, rising inflation, high poverty rate, armed conflicts, terrorist attacks and natural diseases, among other factors, are said to have worsened mental health of millions of consumers worldwide in recent times

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2022 is commemorated October 10 as a global day set aside to draw attention to mental health and general well-being of the state of the human mind.

Mental stress, anxiety, depression and suicide are among the recurring terms that mental health brings up more frequently in recent times.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic is referenced as a factor necessitating paying greater attention to mental health issues more desirous.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the social and economic impairments caused by Coronavirus have increased mental stress.

Coping with the stress of excessive workload during the pandemic was a major health risk factor for many health professionals.

Hundreds of workers lost jobs, with the chances of fresh employment slim or non-existent.

Several businesses closed shop while many enterprises are still struggling to get back on their feet ever since then.

Economic recession, rising inflation, high poverty rate, armed conflicts, terrorist attacks and natural diseases have also aggravated mental health.

Other factors, such as marital crises, unmet expectations and let-downs are increasing the number of individuals and families experiencing anxiety, stress and depression.

The WHO says about one in eight people worldwide suffered from mental issues prior to COVID-19 outbreak, while more than 700,000 people commit suicide every year due to stress or depression.

These days, mental health issues are considered a key priority for governments and development institutions globally.

Hence, the commemoration of the 2022 World Mental Health Day under the theme, ‘Making Mental Health and Well-being for All a Global Priority’, could not have been more pertinent than now.

In light of the fact that Covid-19 made health disparities more apparent in many countries, in particular Africa, the significance of telemedicine to support care and management of people suffering from mental health cannot be over-emphasised.

One of the salient reasons being that, telemedicine is a smart option to closing the gap of lack or inadequate infrastructure and low economic power that hamper or limit access to fast, qualitative healthcare in developing countries such as Nigeria.

It is understating the reality that the challenges of Covid-19 have increased patients’ desire for medical attention quicker without having to visit the hospital or being examined in the laboratory before they can access medicare.

Also, the new digital age we are in is the age of innovations to solve problems faster and live a more convenient life.

Wema Bank beyond the prism of traditional banking has been extending its footprints by rolling out products and services that improve convenience and enhance the quality of life for Nigerians, reports Daily Independent.

The bank, in partnership with Health Connect 24×7, has introduced ALAT Health Connect 24/7, a telemedicine service designed to deliver first-level medical services to customers.

ALAT Health Connect 24/7 as a digital platform enables subscribers who desire to speak to a doctor at their convenience, to engage and receive medical service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mental wellness treatment for patients undergoing depression, anxiety disorders, substance dependence, self-esteem difficulties, suicidal behaviour, eating disorders, compulsive behaviour, assertiveness training and emotions management are among the services that can be accessed under Health Connect 24/7.

“This new digital platform further affirms Wema Bank’s commitment to innovations to enable customers to live easier lives.

“ALAT Health Connect is readily available for free to all Wema and ALAT customers in this month of October 2022, and even non-customers can be easily onboarded via a single landing page or via the ALAT app,” said Mr. Ademola Adebise, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank.

Adebise stated that the service will enable customers to enjoy first-level medical treatment before accessing in-house hospital care.

According to him, “The challenges of Covid-19 have made patients desire medical attention easily and quickly, without visiting the hospital.’’

The Managing Director explained further that Alat Health Connect will help facilitate the prescription of medications, labs, and imaging studies. Patients can receive notification of progress in fulfilling their prescriptions as well as receive results and reports from laboratories and imaging centres including critical images.

Among the numerous benefits, subscribers will be able to access a doctor for unlimited medical consultation by calling the toll-free number, access to affordable healthcare at a click of the button, honest and ethical medical advice based on evidence, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access on smartphone and non-smartphone devices, prenatal and postnatal wellness and wellness lectures and workshop.

The service also offers reliable medical /wellness advice and support for healthy, acute, and chronic conditions, as well as helps to facilitate medical appointments, delivery of medication and laboratory services.

Vincent Ezeora, Head of Sales and Marketing at Health Connect 24×7, restated that the platform provides real time access to high-quality and affordable healthcare to every Nigerian.

Good health and well-being comes third on the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the 2023 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Mental health impacts all aspects of life, hence making mental health and well-being for all a global priority, in line with the theme for this year’s WMHD commemoration, could not have come at a better time.

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