On Becoming Champions

The week of July 29th through to August 2nd, 2019 was a busy week for Gede Foundation. We had training of champions (who are people with lived experience of mental health problems and work to end stigma and discrimination), stakeholders meetings as well as story gathering. These events occurred concurrently and with the support of Time to Change Global (TTCG) and Christian Blind Mission (CBM).

 TTCG has been working in the United Kingdom for 12 years to end stigma and discrimination associated with mental health problems. Their approach, which is having one on one conversations between people with lived mental health experience and those without, has shown that there is significant reduction in stigma and discrimination. This approach is being replicated in 5 countries, namely Ghana, Uganda, India, Kenya, and now, Nigeria.

The training, alongside other activities started on July 30th, 2019. Twenty (20) champions were trained by the coordinator from Gede Foundation - Zunzika Thole and Elizabeth Barnes from TTCG. It lasted for two days and had a lot of activities to prepare the champions for Social Contact, which is where they will have one on one conversations mentioned above. The champions were educated on the differences between mental health, mental wellbeing and mental health problems. Furthermore, they shared how they have been discriminated against and how this project will help curb the stigma and discrimination. 

By the end of the training, the champions were made aware of some of the things they aren’t allowed to do, such as be experts on mental health or become counsellors as they are not trained specialists - they are only experts of their own experiences. 

On Friday, 2nd August, Ruth Stone gave a media training to 8 champions to prepare them on how to speak to the media about mental health problems as well as how to respond to difficult questions which will no doubt come about as the project goes further.

Please come back to the blog as there will be a lot more exciting news and events as the project unfolds!!!