Braveheart: Access to mental health intervention for internally displaced persons (5)

28 January, 2022

Family members and primary care workers are very important population in mental health care and other areas of healthcare especially in the Nigerian setting and other African countries

Family members serve as support system and backbone for people when they are ill. When they have access to the right information they are a strong support system but if they are misinformed and they act according to the wrong information, the harm they inflict might be greater than that of the illness.

In Nigeria and other settings where mental illness is highly stigmatised, family members of persons with mental illness often ostracise and completely separate themselves from their relatives with mental illness especially because they believe it is transferable. However, if they are properly educated and have the right change in behaviour and practice they will be a strong support system for their relative with mental illness and would make reduction in severity of the symptoms of the mental illness very easy, feasible and possible.

Primary care workers are one of the first contact health professionals for most Nigerians especially those in rural, slums, villages and hard-to-reach communities. They serve the bulk of the population and need to be armed with proper information on mental health literacy and care.

I believe that a properly structured interventions that leverages well tailored, culturally and religiously sensitive, politically sound, economically viable behaviour change communication programs with corresponding policies and properly conducted monitoring and evaluation can change the narrative, experience and findings about mental health and illness is most community in Nigeria and other LMICs.

Slum and Rural Health Initiative has over the years built experience and expertise in developing and managing holistic projects able to reduce severity of symptoms of common mental illness especially among young people.

HIFA profile: Miracle Adesina is a physical therapist, heathcare innovator, global health researcher with focus on sexual and mental health and has over 5 years of experience in sexual and mental health advocacy and research. He is a United Nations Academic Impact Millennium Fellow, Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld (UK-based), Global Goodwill Ambassador, HundrED Ambassador and sits on the board of US-based Universal Care for Africa Foundation. He currently serves as the Country Coordinator (Nigeria), Slum and Rural Health Initiative (SRHIN) and Senior Research Associate at SRHIN Research Academy. Miracle has over 50 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and serves as journal reviewer for more than 15 journals. He envisions a world where health information and services will be available and affordable for individuals in slums, villages, underserved communities, internally displaced persons camps and rural regions. Miracle is a member of the WHO/HIFA working group on Maintaining essential health services during COVID-19.