Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) is Nigeria’s largest and most active mental health non-profit network that exists to provide the needed awareness and advocacy regarding mental health and illness. At MANI, we help connect people seeking help with trusted mental health professionals, offer direct counseling via our suicide/distress hotlines and act as support to their family members and friends.
Unquestionably, mental health is fundamental to individual, organizational and national well-being. However, Nigeria and indeed Africa’s mental health statistics are a cause for concern. This is further aggravated by a culture of indifference, denial and evasion.
Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability in youths and adolescents in all the world’s regions, contributing 45% of their overall burden of disease. Early intervention to prevent mental health disorders is crucial to suicide prevention and to improve lifelong well-being.
Young people account for up to 85 per cent of psychiatric cases in Nigeria and indeed Africa and it’s no secret that poor mental health can have debilitating effects on their wider health and development and is associated with several health and social outcomes such as higher alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances use, adolescent pregnancy, school dropout and delinquent behaviors. There is therefore growing consensus that healthy development during adolescence contributes to good mental health and can prevent mental health problems.
There’s need for a persistent discourse on this, especially within Africa; a need to make use of the available human resources to educate more and more people about the dangers of neglecting mental health. To do this the typical way – by organizing a 5-day summit that brings together outstanding academics – would require even more financial capital than is available to put together.
Fifty years ago, if you were told that people would rather seek help on something called the internet than going to the hospital, you would probably not believe it, but from our interactions with young people over the years, we have found that they are more readily interested in seeking for counsel and advise on the internet and social media rather than going to the hospital or for health workshops.
We are therefore excited to announce a first of its kind event, one that will have as much impact and even reach more numbers in our target population – the first and largest month long virtual mental health summit themed, Mental Health, Social Media and Technology.
In a bid to raise more awareness on how the state of an individual’s mental health affects his/her everyday activities, we are organizing a month-long online summit on 3 major social media platforms. One of these platforms is WhatsApp Messenger; where we intend to organize 5 sessions across 50 groups of 100 participants each for every session. We will also hold tweet-chats with influential individuals/professionals and Instagram Live sessions anchored by our volunteers.
This conference seeks to advocate for a cultural re-engineering. It espouses the need for Nigerians and Africans to recognize mental health as a realistic and legitimate concern, as well as display total commitment to the implementation of policies and practices that will ensure a supportive framework for everyone.
Come meet over 100 Inspiring Speakers and Experts at this online event, as we touch on Issues concerning mental health and general human well-being.
Conference location is on Twitter, WhatsApp Messenger, and Instagram. Learn more and Register here.