Nigeria: Mental Health - Survivors Share Experiences to Tackle Stigmatisation

14 October 2019

A group of 20 women and men who have experienced mental health problems shared their experiences after a road walk to commemorate the 2019 World Mental Health Day as part of efforts to tackle stigmatization.

The mental health champions, as they were called, said they are now advocates of mental health to help people tackle the problem through their experiences.

They spoke at a programme organized by the Karu General Hospital's Behavioural Medicine Unit in conjunction with Gede Foundation with support from a UK-based NGO, Time to Change Global, at the weekend.

They spoke about their experiences of mental health problems such as depression and bipolar, and challenged myths surrounding the issue of mental health problem while also helping people change the way they think about the disease.

The Medical Director, Karu General Hospital, Dr Marcus Mamman, said, this year's theme focuses on suicide prevention to help create awareness so that people will know the causes and how to handle it.

He said suicide often happens as a result of depression, stressing that recently it has gone up and there is the need to look into how to tackle it.

"But with the awareness we have started, it will help people to know that mental health issue is real and there are things that may likely cause people to have suicidal thoughts. We need to educate the people because it can happen to anybody no matter your status and class," he said.

Dr Mamman said although the issue of stigmatisation is still prevalent, the awareness is to make people know that mental health problem is just like any other ailment and it is not an infectious diseases.

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