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Monday, June 17, 2024

NGO launches adolescent mental health project for FCT schools

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Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, on Tuesday, launched FCT In-School Adolescent Mental Health Capacity Building Project for secondary schools.

The Founder of the initiative, Mr Ameh Abba, said that the mental problems of youths were on the increase and posed a significant financial and social burden on families and society.

Abba disclosed that 10 schools in the FCT would be selected for the project; seven from public schools and three from private schools.

He said the project would build the capacity of 200 students, 20 from each of the schools and 20 counsellors from the 10 schools for 12 months.

He noted that “most mental health problems diagnosed in adulthood begin during adolescence.

“Half of lifetime diagnosable mental health disorders start by age 14, the number increases to three fourths by age 24.

“The ability to manage mental health problems, including substance use issues and learning disorders can affect adult functioning in areas such as social relationships and participation in the workforce.”

Abba, who commended the European Union and the British Council for funding the project, said it would promote the social inclusion of girls and people living with disabilities.

Mrs Seyi Tetteh, the Abuja Focal Person (FCT), EU-funded Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation Programme, expressed the hope that advocacy for mental health would yield results for a mentally-healthy nation.

She said “there is a great need to create more awareness about mental health issues and its much-needed solutions; mental health issue is a global issue.

“According to the World Health Organisation, mental health conditions account for 16 per cent of global burden of diseases and injury in people aged 10-19.

“From the statistics, there is a close connection between mental wellness and wholeness and a person’s physical wellbeing,” Tetteh said.

Similarly, Miss Anne Alogwu, the Lead Clinical Psychologist of the organisation, said the project would train school counsellors to identify different mental triggers and give referrals where necessary.

Chief Warkani Haruna, MHEI Board of Trustee member, harped on the need to prioritise mental health and wellness, saying “mental health has been neglected for centuries and this has led to stigma for sufferers.

“In most cases, we have seen hospitals for mental health issues located in very remote places just to tell you how stigmatised this form of the disease is.

“It is like any other disease and if our brain is the centre of all operations, if anything affects it, it means the entire system or body functions are impaired,” Warkani said.

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