A Senior Atlantic Fellow, Kunle Adewale, has launched the first-ever Mental Health Fellowship in Nigeria.
Adewale is a fellow for Equity and Brain Health at the University of California San Francisco.
The launch took place in commemoration of World Mental Health Day 2021 on October 10, 2021.
In this latest health news in Nigeria obtained from Vanguard Adewale said this initiative is driven by young people.
The inauguration of this fellowship was held by the Mandela Washington Fellow and his team.
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At the event themed “Raising Community Champions: The Roles of Youth in Mental Health Advocacy, Education and Engagement,” he revealed that the goals of the fellowship.
He said that the mental fellowship, “Aims to provide an incredible network and professional development opportunities for young people. Where they can be inspired and inspire one another through peer mentoring and collective community projects on mental health education, advocacy and engagements.”
Adewale added that “Through the Mental Health Fellowship, we aspire to amplify the voices of the youths at the local, national, and global arena. We would be doing this through; i. collaboration with the relevant government agencies. ii. NGOs. iii. faith-based organizations. iv. civil societies, v. Diplomatic Missions among many others”.
The Deputy Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate Lagos, Jennifer Foltz applauded Kunle Adewale.
In her words: “Kunle is a 2015 Mandela Washington fellowship alumnus and one of the most active alumni. This year alone, he has launched no less than three different projects. an artist, he has made a far-reaching foray into the field of medicine and has made a tremendous impact with all of his initiatives.”
She added that the fellowship is supporting one of the aims of the U.S. Mission which is good health for the population.
In the exemplary speech by Dr Maymunah Kadiri, she described mental health as a pandemic within a pandemic.
“Even though we have a global pandemic, increase in mental health issues is a pandemic within the pandemic”, she stated.
The Leading and Vital Voice for Mental Health in Africa/Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Psychotherapist, Kadiri spoke about those predisposed to mental illnesses.
According to her, youths between the ages of 14 to 24 fall within this bracket.
She noted the sad fact that “75-90% of people in low and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services at all, and access in high-income countries isn’t any better.”
Stigma is a factor that affects the mental health of people with mental health challenges. It also affects their educational opportunities, current, and future earnings, job prospects as well as their family and loved ones.”
Dr Kadiri explained further that the 2021 Mental Health Day theme- ‘Mental Health In An Unequal World’. She said that it focuses on the issues that influence mental health inequalities locally and globally.
She stressed that this is where the active participation of youths comes is crucial.
“The vibrancy and the resilience of the youths will enable them to take on mental health problems in the society”, she said.