• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Foundation raises awareness on mental health issues

Foundation raises awareness on mental health issues

Orunsii Wellcare Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on mental health awareness, destigmatisation and enlightenment programmes ‘MHADE in Lagos’ has deepened conversation around mental health issues in Nigeria.

Orunsii, a Yoruba word for ‘open heaven’ portrays the foundation’s mission to promote mental health awareness and management through advocacy education, training and support with the appointment of the Lagos first lady, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, as the grand patron.

“We found out that mental health was a silent thing and people were ashamed to come out and say they have mental issues. The second thing was that a lot of people were not aware that there is a thing called mental health problems. The third thing was that people attached a stigma to people who claim to have mental health issues,” Olumide Sojinrin, medical director/CEO, General Hospital, Mushin and project coordinator, Orunsii Wellcare Foundation, said at the pre-launch of the Foundation.

According to him, many Lagosians said they could not invite somebody who has mental health issues to their houses, and find it hard to cope with people who have mental health issues. “Questions were asked in the community and a lot said they could not marry people who have mental health issues. We realised that it is a treatable thing so why should people have a wrong impression about it”.

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On the issues of bullying in schools, Sojinrin said the Foundation did some grassroots awareness campaigns among students to deepen the conversation and curb issues of mental health. “If we teach them that bullying is wrong, it’s good to be friends with your colleagues; people may go into depression or be sad for certain reasons and they should not use that to stigmatize them. They should look for ways to encourage and lift their spirit,” he concludes.

Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State First Lady, who is also the grand patron of the foundation urged Lagosians to take care of their mental health, stressing that it is a major determinant of every individual’s total wellbeing.

According to her, there is no health without mental health; hence every individual must take their mental health very seriously. She also asked people of the State to give mental healthcare a priority in their scale of preference, noting that it is the way to go.

Maymunah Kadiri, the keynote speaker,

represented by Suzanne Oreoluwa Adebayo examined the various levels of bullying as well as its adverse effects on mental wellbeing, especially among the youth in a presentation titled, ‘Bullying and Self-Awareness’.

“You don’t have to go mad on the streets before you have your mental health checked and accessed. It is something you must do,” Adetokunbo Fabanwo, chairman of the foundation said in his welcome address.