“No one was caring for them primarily because no one knows what to do. But this has changed, I learned and I tell everyone in my village that there is treatment for this.”
This story comes from Felicia, who is from Nigeria. Felicia is an incredible primary health care worker for a CBM partner mental health program. She’s on the frontline fighting to raise awareness about mental health in her community.
She tells a story about a woman who was diagnosed with psychosis.
“For a long time no one was able to talk to her, she just kept staring into space. She used to be productive with her hairdressing skills but this has stopped due to her illness,” shares Felicia.
But Felicia reached out and brought the woman to a health clinic where she started a treatment plan and this has significantly improved her mental health.
“She is now back to her productive self, earning money from hairdressing and selling ground nuts. She even comes to the clinic to sell us ground nuts!”
As the leading mental health advocate in her village, Felicia has further plans to strengthen this work through self-help groups. People come together in these groups to support each other, ‘…to share about their experiences, what their plans are and for them to encourage each other. I am happy that in my village, there is now high level of community awareness about mental health and availability of treatment. The stigma has lessened.’
Organising mental health advocates in villages, like Felicia, are vital for CBM partner’s community mental health project in Nigeria. Now in its second phase, the project will focus on empowering local advocacy groups to use their voice to change the way communities and governments include and support people with disability.
This project is funded by CBM supporters and also receives support through an Australian Aid program funded by the Australian Government.
Photo : Felicia, from Nigeria, is changing the way people think about mental health.