What happens to the mental health of a child who is sexually abused?

The mental health of the sexually abused child was considered in Gede’s recent mental health dialogue meeting where Hajia Aisha Umoru Tokura (Twin and I Childcare Foundation) spoke extensively on the subject matter. It was a heart rendering session as participants were told about different scenarios where children have been sexually abused and ended up with one mental challenge or the other which include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and suicide.

Although tackling the issue of child sexual abuse may appear daunting in our environment, joint efforts that can be employed to overcome this hurdle as identified in this dialogue include – providing adequate shelter (centres)  where abused children can be taken for safety ( a way of avoiding the mental torture they go through if they continue to see the abuser), enforcement agencies to be equipped with adequate database and have up to date offenders’ list so society is aware of who to be on the lookout for, holistic enlightenment that also involves parents through parents forum etc, educational policy and curriculum to incorporate sex education at certain times in the school calendar. Participants were relieved that there was an association like the coalition on mental health where they could air views as one voice to the appropriate authorities. With this, The Mental Health Dialogue for 2015 has come to a successful end. For further details about Gede’s ‘Mental Health Dialogue Programme’ and to obtain the list of speakers in the coming year 2016, please email Olusolape Bamijoko on (obamijoko@gedefoundation.org)