Gede Foundation, Time to Change (TTCG) and Christian Blind Mission (CBM) visited relevant stakeholders in Abuja from July 29 through August 2 2019. The aim was to explore partnership opportunities with government agencies and networks, which, essentially, will help in achieving the objectives of a planned pilot project on anti-stigma for mental illness in Nigeria. Recently, the 3 organizations entered a tripartite agreement to address stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.
The team visited Karu Behavioral Medicine Unit, Federal Ministry of Health, National Orientation Agency and Network of People living with HIV-AIDS in Nigeria.
Each of these 4 organizations have specific areas and ways in which they would contribute to the success of the pilot project including i) treatment and care for people with mental illness at the community and facility levels, ii) policy development and access to implementation guidelines for mental health services delivery, ii) information dissemination and reporting at all level and, iv) community mobilization for behavior change against people living with HIV-ADS and mental illness.
In addition to other challenges, stigma and discrimination were rated high as a major barrier in accessing quality mental health services both at the community and facility levels.
It is hoped that stakeholders’ efforts in this project will help confront stigma and discrimination in anticipation of a significant uptake of mental health services beyond the pilot project cycle.
The team comprised of Godwin Etim (Gede Foundation,) Jeremy Boglosa (Gede Foundation), Joe Odogwu (Gede Foundation), Philip Ode (CBM) and Polly Newall (TTCG)