On April 6th 2017, Gede Foundation, with the Global Association of Mental Health Awareness, (a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Non Governmental Organisations, Community Based Organisations, Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Faith Based Organisations on Mental Health in Nigeria), held a press conference at Gede Foundation Headquarters. The press conference was organised to raise awareness about mental health conditions with the media with a focus on depression which is the theme for World Health Day 2017.
Mr. Godwin Etim, the Performance Director: Partnership Management and Resource Mobilisation for Gede Foundation, welcomed participants and stressed the role of media in raising awareness about stigmatised and underserved health burdens which include mental health. Mrs. Udoh Margaret, representing the coalition, gave a speech in which she highlighted the rising number of suicide cases in Nigeria and linked it to the extreme case of depression.
Media representation at the press conference included NTA, AIT, CORE TV, NAN, Radio Nigeria, Kiss FM, Love FM, Galaxy TV, Vision FM, Powersteering Online, Aljazeera News Online, Voice of Nigeria, Cool Wazobia Info FM and many more.
During the question and answer session, the media sought clarification on where to get help for those depressed, and how to get help if they, or someone they knew was depressed and if there is a directory for mental health specialists in country.Mr. Godwin Etim informed them that there is, indeed a directory of psychiatrists and there are centres such as Karu Behavioural Unit in the FCT where they can access mental health services.
Mrs. Udoh made reference to the National Institute of Mental Health and listed some common symptoms of depression some of which were persistent sadness, anxiety, or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions as well as having difficulty sleeping, amongst others. She insisted that any affected person seek help from a mental health professional immediately and if they are not able to do so on their own, a close friend or relative should seek help for them.
Participants at the press conference were interested in the details shared by Mrs. Zunzika Okpo (Media Officer - Gede Foundation) on the current community based mental health programmes by Gede Foundation. In her presentation she highlighted the dangers that are associated with substance abuse especially among youths in Mararaba and Mpape communities. Upon this revelation, the media were interested in attending some of the activities, including mental health camps that the Foundation conducts. It was agreed that depression plays a major role and can be termed as a silent killer and therefore, the media should play their role in disseminating appropriate information.
Below are some pictures from the event as well as a video!