It’s often said that “unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways” and this is one of the reasons why Mental Health Awareness needs to be preached now more than before in every part of the country (Nigeria).
With the emergence of social media and the advantages it has in extending communication without geographical limits, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI), the largest youth mental health network in Nigeria, has been able to reach nooks and crannies of the nation (Nigeria).
Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) founded in 2015, December 31st precisely, is located in four major cities in Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja, Oyo & Rivers). Through members and volunteers’ engagement MANI has been enlightening the public on mental health. This is achieved via social media platforms, outreaches and events within the different chapters.
MANI aims to:
- Challenge the taboo, stigma and misconceptions about mental health among the general population in Nigeria
- Making sure the majority of the Nigerian population (urban, rural, youth, elder, adults) have a fair understanding about mental health and mental health issues
- Work to Improve legislation, policies and allocation of budget to mental health in Nigeria
- Build awareness of decision makers to improve the mental health system and the legislation related to Mental health issues
- Provoke an innovative disruption of the offer of Mental Health services in Nigeria
- Facilitate the early intervention and treatment of those at risk
- Improve the human resources capacity of identifying and treating Mental Health and Psychosocial conditions in Nigeria.
- Provide Mental health first aid and suicide intervention services
Social Changes MANI has Accomplished Since Inception
In less than two years of existence, MANI has been able to:
- Provide group support for over 3000 people living/coping with a mental illness, including but not limited to de-escalation of distressing situations, suicide intervention with the aid of our talk lines with adequate and appropriate referral to mental health professionals.
- Grow our following on social media from zero to more than 20,000, with impressions from our posts of more than twelve million.
- Educate thousands of Nigerians on the reality of mental illnesses as well as the basics of most of the common ones seen in our environment, both online (using targeted social media campaigns) and offline (using various psycho-education programs organized across more than 10 states in Nigeria).
- Get involved in the production of a short film to raise awareness about mental health, illnesses and forms of therapy in conjunction with NiyiAkinmolayan.com and the cast & crew of Room315.
- Partner with Grand Scope concepts to produce 3 short films based on male child sexual abuse, depression and domestic violence of the male folk which would be airing soon.
- Conduct hospital outreaches to The National Hospital, Psychiatric Ward, Abuja and The MOB Ward, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital and Military Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.
- Conduct outreaches at the Abuja, Ondo and Ebonyi Youth Corps Orientation camps where talks were given and awareness exercises carried out.
- Offer suicide response training to the Lagos State Emergency Response Unit (LASEMA) as well as a training on Workplace Depression to the staff of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
- Partner with Facebook, SociallyAfrica and ProjectGetNaked to hold WhatsApp conferences on WhatsApp discussing various issues as regards mental illness. We had 10 groups of more than 50 persons (a total of 500) in each all involved in active learning session and with well-trained facilitators. This ended with a Facebook live chat highlighting the experiences in the groups as well as speaking more on the issue.
- Present a talk on Mental Health Awareness, Depression and Good Mental Hygiene to ambassadors at the Empowering African Leaders Initiative (EALA) where we were also presented an award for Excellence and also got inducted into the forum.
- Partner with CognoAid to provide easier access to tele medical alternatives for psychotherapy and consultations.
- Put together the first Anthology of Mental illness, a compilation of short stories that shines light on the perception of mental illness in Nigeria which will be released before June, 2018.
- Partner with quick medical consults in their worm free zone event to reach out to children and their parents using arts and easy to understand resources to inform them about mental illnesses and teach them mental hygiene.
MANI has team members in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan and Port Harcourt. These teams have a working structure, with executives in leadership positions who push the cause and facilitate the various campaigns.
MANI can be reached via:
@MentallyAwareNG on IG, Twitter, Facebook.
Are you a Social Change Agent? Are you or do you know anyone currently making impacts (or previously made impacts) in your immediate community? Share your story with us! Or share a news update on social change activities within your community! CLICK HERE