Closing mental health gaps in Nigeria

Stories | May 9, 2019

CBM Australia works closely with people with mental health issues and psychosocial disability*. Our work involves supporting people to both provide and receive high-quality health services.

As part of this work, in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade #ANCP, CBM Australia supports the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Program in Benue State, Nigeria.

This program aims to improve quality of life for people with mental health issues and psychosocial disability through:

  • Access to integrated health care,
  • Empowerment of individuals and their carers, and
  • A reduction in barriers to social inclusion. Reducing these barriers involves addressing stigma against people with disability.

Dr Chieche was working as the Mental Health Desk Officer in Benue State, which is in the north-central geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Living with mental illness himself, he is also active in the State’s Mental Health Stakeholders Alliance promoting awareness of mental health issues and the rights of persons with mental illness. The Alliance works to improve the availability and quality of mental health care in Benue State.

Now, Dr Chieche also supports and supervises 43 primary health clinics that deliver mental health services across the State. He participates in regular field visits with a focus on ensuring quality of work of the community health workers who deliver the Community Mental Health Program.

Since being seconded into the role, Dr Chieche has:

  • Ensured coordination between Benue State and the program, and
  • Supported the Ministry to develop capacity to deliver this inclusive, community-based mental health program.

“I see how the range of support we provide – from clinical to social (self-help groups) and economic (livelihoods) – bring about positive change”, Dr Chieche said. “Not only in the lives of people with mental illness, but also in how communities created supportive environment for people with mental illness.”

Man standing in front of building.
Closing mental health gaps in Nigeria

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and loyal CBM Australia supporters.

Learn more about CBM Australia’s work with people who have psychosocial disability.

‘Psychosocial disabilities’ refer to people who have received a mental health diagnosis, and who have experienced negative social factors including stigma, discrimination and exclusion. People living with psychosocial disabilities include ex-users, current users of the mental health care services, as well as persons that identify themselves as survivors of these services or with the psychosocial disability itself. Source: World Health Organisation

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