MHEI MnetalHealthTalk with Mr Ifeanyichukwu Anthony Ogueji Discussing on “Mental Health in a time of #Pandemic”

MHEI MnetalHealthTalk with Mr Ifeanyichukwu Anthony Ogueji @IfeanyichukwuAO Discussing on “Mental Health in a time of #Pandemic”

On Wednesday 25th March 2020 on our MentalHealthTalk, our quest Mr Ifeanyichukwu Anthony Ogueji, a Clinical Health Psychologist with International experiences in the integration of research-based practice with therapeutic-based practice to manage persons living with life threatening events, discussed on Mental Health in a time of #Pandemic” Focus was onpsychological effects of #covid19 on Nigerians

When we say psychological effects of a #pandemic, what does mean

Psychological effects of the pandemic describe any triggered response by the pandemic that is cognitive, behavioral or emotional in characteristic. Cognitive responses triggered by the pandemic may include false thoughts that one has contracted covid-19. Such false thought could be triggered by imaginary symptoms of the pandemic.

Behavioral response which is a second psychological effect of the pandemic are reflected in our behaviors during this time. For instance, more persons tend to engage in behaviors of discrimination of persons that just returned from high-risk countries at this critical time.

The third factor which describes the psychological effect of the pandemic is emotional response. This kind of response could occur as anxieties such as panic attacks. It could as well occur as depression (Excessive sadness that interferes with our normal functioning).

Do you think increasing number of #covid19 confirmed cases can have a significant #psychological effect on people in #Nigeria?

Yes! The number of increasing cases have psychological effects on everyone. Research suggests that during pandemic outbreaks fear of contracting the disease, fear of spreading the disease, depression and acute stress disorders are very common when cases are increasing in number.

Considering the adverse psychological impacts of the increasing number of confirmed cases, there is the need of holistic interventions for the general population.

Research also suggests that when cases are increasing in number during a pandemic time like this, the likelihood of substance abuse is doubled among vulnerable populations.

What are the common psychology effects that can be experienced by people during this period

Common psychological effects include but not limited to:  anxiety disorders, depression, stigmatization of vulnerable persons, psychotic symptoms and in some cases suicidal behaviors. More psychological effects include: abuse or misuse of substances, acute stress disorders which could breed post-traumatic stress disorder if it worsens, and personality disturbances.

How do you know if the pandemic is having any of these psychological effects on you?:

  • You tend to lose interests in the activities you normally find interesting.
  • You think suicide is better than being affected by the pandemic.
  • You create imaginary symptoms of the disease in you and you may think that you are now positive to the disease.
  • You are having fear that is beyond normal or you find yourself getting fearful for no reason.
  • You tend to discriminate against persons that just arrived from high-risk countries.

What are the best ways people can care for their mental health during this period of #covid19 #Pandemic

During this period, you can care for your mental health in the following ways: Practice of the preventive measures recommended by @WHO Research suggests that during a pandemic, negative psychological effects could be controlled by practicing healthy behaviors.

Second, we could care for our mental health at this time by seeking professional help. In this regard, I would recommend that a registry of mental health practitioners is released to the general public, for them to contact mental health practitioners that are close to them.

Third, we can care for our mental health at this period by promoting accurate information sharing about the pandemic. This is imperative because research suggests that knowledge of illness is a significant predictor of mental healthcare during time of a pandemic.

What is your advice for people during this #COVID19 #Pandemic

We are all advised to:

  • Practice healthy behaviors recommended by @WHO
  • Promote information sharing of the pandemic.
  • Seek psychosocial supports.
  • Keep calm, and remain positive that the whole world will smile again after now.

Thank you for having me!


UNODC Drug Prevention Treatment and Care Training (DPTC) Phase2!

UNODC Drug Prevention Treatment and Care Training (DPTC) Phase2!  

The Phase 2 of the DPTC training organized by UNODC in collaboration with European Union (EU) sought to increase knowledge on how to avoid indulgence in Drug use Prevention Treatment and Care.

There is need for continuously awareness on drug use, treatment and care for drug users. One of the other ways to effectively control drug usage is by creating awareness to friends and family of Drug users on how to care for them and also stop the stigmatization of drug users. There Is also need for policies that will protect the right and also create a treatment centers with standard facilities for Mental Health

“I believe drugs have destroyed many people but wrong Govt polices have destroyed many more” -Kofi Annan


Weekly Tweet Chat; Sociopolitical interactions of mental health in Nigeria with Mr Oluwaferanmi Adeyemo

The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative held another batch of weekly tweet chat with  Mr Oluwaferanmi Adeyemo, a #mentalhealth first-aider & Founder of WecareNG @Wecare_ng as our quest.  We discuse on the topic “Sociopolitical interactions of mental health in Nigeria”

For us to understand the concept of the topic and have the idea of the discussion we will give a definition on “Sociopolitical” According to merriam-webster Dictionary “Socio-political systems and problems involve a combination of social and political factors. …sociopolitical issues such as ecology and human rights.”

question1 @Wecare_ng

“What are the social determinants of mental health in Nigeria?”

“Mental health and many common mental disorders are shaped to a great extent by the social, economic, and physical environments circumstances in which we live at different life stages.

economic factors include deprivation, poverty, inequality, and unemployment, while examples of physical environment circumstances are stressors such as the death of a loved one, separation/divorce, changing schools, job loss, exposure to natural disasters and insurgencies. etc.

Summarily, #mentalhealth in Nigeria is heavily associated with social inequalities that needs urgent actions that will greatly improve the conditions of both physical and mental health of all.”

Question2 @Wecare_ng

What can you say about the political context of mental health care in Nigeria?

Since early 1960s, mental health care in Nigeria has been battling with policy famine which is hindering the provision of mental health services, facilities, funding, professionals and support by all.  Until recently, the political context and involvement in mental health is insignificant, looking at the proportion of political will, financial commitments, delivery of mental health services and the protection of the human rights of persons with mental disorders in Nigeria. Despite the recent move for a mental health act in Nigeria, there is no public information on the assessments taken to measure the gap on the formulation and implementation of the lunacy act of 1958 and the Mental health policy document of 1991. The inability to measure existing mental health policy formulation gap will continue to affect the mechanisms for strengthening mental health systems in Nigeria as well as how to integrate mental health into primary health care as a new policy objective.

Question3 @Wecare_ng

As the public hearing of the #mentalhealth & substance abuse bill comes up on February 17,  what are your major concerns on decision-making processes that may affect mental health #service delivery in Nigeria?

One major concern is about the required intersectoral collaboration between the to create a Directorate for Mental Health at the Federal Ministry of Health instead of establishment of a National Council for Mental health and Substance Abuse Services This will reduce financial burdens as well as enhance implementation, monitoring and accountability strategies.  

Other stakeholders, individuals and organization also contributed to the discussion stating their point and view about the di

Afropsych @AfropsychNow (Responding to question 1 “What are the social determinants of mental health in Nigeria?”)

 “Unfortunately, Nigeria do not have good health care system for people with mental health conditions in the urban areas talk more of those in the rural areas, cultural and religious values and myths, Ignorance and the lackadaisical attitude towards Mental health in general.”

Mr Bashiru Oyewole @BashiruOyewole also contribute to question 1; that “Mental Health unfortunately has not been advocated for well enough in the Nigerian Society, probably because of Religious doctrines, SocioEconomic Challenges and/or Family Challenges.. When Social issues are not addressed, the mind may be at the receiving end”

Mr Bashiru Oyewole contributing to Question 2, he said “The Political context of mental health care in Nigeria is poor, probably because many politicians do not see the immediate financial profit in investing in the Mental Health Act. We need to educate our Politicians and Policy makers on the rising need to prioritize Mental Health.”

Taiwo Lateef Sheikh @TaiwoSheikh contributed to Question 3.

He said If we understand the burden of mental illness, substance use related disorders and psychosocial disabilities, we surely understand the need for a separate agency for mental health and substance abuse. Understanding the burden of HIV lead to creation of NACA!

Under estimating HIV would have lead to creation of a “directorate” for HIV! Money spent on mental health, substance abuse and psychosocial disabilities is an investment. Our smaller Neighbour has Ghana Mental Health Authority, USA has NIMH!

The interaction of sociopolitical factors are key to development and policy making process.. let us hear your view in the comment section


Public Hearing On The Mental Health Bill: Glorious Opportunity For Progress

The Journey towards a Modern Mental Health Bill: Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, several efforts have been made with expert committees established, and working with the Federal Ministry of Health, Lawmakers, Professional Organizations (including those of Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurses, Medical Social Workers etc) to prepare a draft bill for consideration. The 2003 Bill failed to see the light of the day and was rested. The 2013 version equally failed to materialize.

Public Hearing on Mental Health Bill: The current National Assembly has made the most progress with regards to expeditious attention to the mental health bill. The current Senate Committee on Health, ably led by the Committee Chairman, Senator (Dr) Yahaya Oloriegbe, has ensured that the draft bill has passed through the first, second and third hearing and is now slated for public hearing on Monday, the 17thFebruary 2020. This is gratifying to note and presents an opportunity to all stakeholders and the general public to participate and engage with the progress, highlight areas of shortcomings and propose recommendations and amendments to improve on such areas.

Ultimately, there is no such thing as a perfect bill or legislation. But the worst form of the current bill will be a significant improvement on what currently exists. But we now have a window of opportunity to participate in the process and provide critical input for its improvement. Let’s do so, and ensure that all stakeholders rally round and push together for the collective benefit of our society. So, we don’t end up throwing away the baby with the birth water on account of perceived shortcomings.

Conclusion: Our nation is witnessing a worrying spike in the prevalence of mental health challenges, drug abuse, suicide and attempted suicide amongst others. The critical need for a mental health legislation that protects and promotes human rights, personal dignity as well as adequate oversight to ensure qualitative and evidence based mental health services could not have been more pronounced. It is a glorious opportunity that should be embraced and utilized. Let’s do the best we can and achieve some progress. If you are in Abuja on Monday, the 17th February, please attend the public hearing and participate in the process.

Source: NigeriaTribune


#SpeakYourmind campaign to Science Primary School, Bwari-Abuja

Anxiety, depression & attention deficit hyperactivity disorders are common among children. Hence, we took the #SpeakYourmind campaign to Science Primary School, Bwari-Abuja, urging students to #speakout whenever they find it difficult to pay attention, learn & handle emotions.


DPTC Sensitization Training for Traditional Leaders in Bwari Area Council, Abuja

DPTC Sensitization Training for Traditional Leaders in Bwari Area Council, Abuja: January 22nd and 23rd, 2019

The Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI) in partnership with UNODC had another batch of Drug use, Dependency Prevention, Treatment an care (DPTC) training for the Traditional Ruler within Bwari Area counsel Abuja. The training which is aimed at sensitizing traditional ruler on the use of drug and care for drug user in their communities.

The DPTC sensitization training for religious leaders within Bwari Areas Council, Abuja had in attendance 26 participants who are Districts and Village heads. The leaders were able to learn from trainers who made use of the local dialect (Hausa) during the 2-days training. Participants’ knowledge was enhanced, particularly on the issue of criminalizing young people who are drug users. They also had the understanding on why drug users do not seek for help due to the associated stigma of drug users and their family. The traditional rulers were trained on the necessary steps to help a drug user and were encouraged to take drug users as their own, bring them close and assist drug user in their endeavor to stop the drug uses.

After the training, the traditional rulers pledge to step down the knowledge gained in their various communities while calling the government in Bwari Area Council to invest in a unique approach of getting help and treatment for young people who are having drug use problems.


🔻 MENTAL HEALTH IN NIGERIA: MHEI Hosts Press Conference and Round Table Discussion with CSOs in Nigeria

The issues of mental disorders and mental illnesses have become topic of great concerns today. According to the Federal Government of Nigeria, 20% to 30 % of Nigeria’s estimated 200 million population suffers from mental disorders, this means that 3 in 10 Nigerians suffer from one form of mental disorders or the other.

While many Nigerians have misconceptions and misbeliefs about mental illness, which has unconsciously stigmatized people with mental illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only about three percent of the Nigeria government’s budget on health goes to mental health. Meanwhile, we have about 200 psychiatrists (some are not practicing, while others are in the academia) presently in Nigeria— approximately one psychiatrist per 1 million people.

This dwindling situation has resulted into the human rights abuse of thousands of people with mental health conditions across Nigeria. According to the Human Rights report of November 11, 2019, people who should be supported and provided with effective services in their communities are found to be chained and abused in many settings, including state hospitals, rehabilitation centers, traditional healing centers, and both Christian and Islamic faith-based facilities.

It was garnered from the report that “Between August 2018 and September 2019, Human Rights Watch visited 28 facilities ostensibly providing mental health care in 8 states and the Federal Capital Territory, including federal psychiatric hospitals, general state hospitals, state-owned rehabilitation centers, Islamic rehabilitation centers, traditional healing centers, and Christian churches where people with actual or perceived mental health conditions, including children, are placed in facilities without their consent, usually by relatives.”

“In some cases, police arrest people with actual or perceived mental health conditions and send them to government-run rehabilitation centers. Once there, many are shackled with iron chains, around one or both ankles, to heavy objects or to other detainees, in some cases for months or years. They cannot leave, are often confined in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions, and are sometimes forced to sleep, eat, and defecate within the same confined place. Many are physically and emotionally abused as well as forced to take treatments.”

Read full story HERE

As a result of this, on November, 22, 2019, MHEI organized a Mental Health Media Conference alongside our colleagues from mental health affiliated organizations such as Neem Foundation, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) and Secure D Future International Initiative to express our worries over the ill-treatment meted on mentally deranged, and particularly criticized the violation of their fundamental human rights by mental health service providers.

The Founder of MHEI, Mr Zion Ameh, during  the media conference on Sunday in Abuja said “from the demeaning report by Human Rights Watch, thousands of people with mental health conditions are harboured in inhuman conditions. This indicated that the treatment by mental health services providers was unacceptable as it denied their rights as Nigerians.”

Mr Zion said that lack of effective and efficient mental health services in Nigeria has had serious socio-economic and productivity consequences. According to him, it has increased risk of low productivity, high rate of depression, stress, anxiety, suicide as well as inappropriate detention of people. He quoted the report as observing that it was “wrong to subject anyone to torture or inhuman treatment and nobody shall be held in slavery or servitude.

Read more HERE

Furthermore, on December 10, 2019, MHEI hosted CSOs & NGOs in Abuja to discuss about the proposed Mental Health and Substance Abuse Bill where we all renewed our commitments to lead Mental health actions in Nigeria and collectively catalyze the demand for the human rights of people with mental illness across all sectors knowing fully well that “MENTAL HEALTH IS A HUMAN RIGHT TOO”. Nigeria still use the Lunacy Act of 1958 which is not tenable in any modern society, hence, the urgent need for a mental health reform in Nigeria which the proposed bill sets to achieve.

As a nation, for Nigeria to achieve a sustainable mentally healthy society, we need to use the universal health coverage (UHC) as a platform to advance mental health services in the country. Also, the government need to invest, educate and empower the citizens in the area of mental health.





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MHEI to host Mental Health CSOs/NGOs in a Round Table Discussion on the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Bill


In our bid to further strengthen mental health activities and services in Nigeria, ,tomorrow, December 10, 2019 we will be hosting a round-table discussion for Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations working on Mental Health issues in Nigeria to discuss about the proposed “Mental Health and Substance Abuse Bill”.

Time for practical ACTIONS!!



Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death.  Every year according to WHO, close to 800,000 people take their own life and there are many more people who attempt suicide. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year- olds globally in 2016. Suicide does not just occur in high-income countries, but is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world. In fact, over 79% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2016. WHO data shows Nigeria had an age-standardized suicide rate of 17.3 per 100,000 people in 2016, which placed it seventh on the continent. Suicide is one of the priority conditions in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) launched in 2008, which provides evidence-based technical guidance to scale up service provision and care in countries for mental, neurological and substance use disorders.


Teenage suicide is a serious and growing problem. The teenage years can be emotionally turbulent and stressful as teenagers face pressures to succeed and fit in. They may struggle with self-esteem issues, self-doubt, and feelings of alienation. For some, this leads to suicide. Depression is also a major risk factor for teen suicide.

Other risk factors for teenage suicide include:

  • Childhood abuse
  • Recent traumatic event
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Self-loathing or self-hatred
  • Lack of a support network
  • Availability of a gun
  • Hostile social or school environment
  • Exposure to other teen suicides

Warning Signs in Teens

Additional warning signs that a teen may be considering suicide:

  • Change in eating and sleeping habits
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
  • Violent or rebellious behavior, bullying, running away
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Unusual neglect of personal appearance
  • Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork
  • Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, such as stomach pains, headaches, or tiredness.
  • Rejecting praise or rewards



The highest suicide rates of any age group occur among persons aged 65 years and older. One contributing factor is depression in the elderly that is undiagnosed and untreated.

Other risk factors for suicide in the elderly include:

  • Recent death of a loved one, isolation and loneliness
  • Physical illness, disability, or pain
  • Major life changes, such as retirement or loss of independence
  • Loss of sense of purpose

Warning Signs in Older adults

Additional warning signs that an elderly person may be contemplating suicide:

  • Reading about death and suicide
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased consumption of alcohol or prescription drugs
  • Self-neglect or failing to follow medical orders
  • Stockpiling medications or taking a sudden interest in firearms
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and social activities, bidding elaborate farewells, or hurrying to revise a will

Many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.


Suicides are preventable. There are a number of measures that can be taken at population, sub-population and individual levels to prevent suicide and suicide attempts. These include:

  • reducing access to the means of suicide (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
  • reporting by media in a responsible way;
  • school-based interventions;
  • introducing alcohol policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol;
  • early identification, treatment and care of people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress;
  • training of non-specialized health workers in the assessment and management of suicidal behaviour;
  • follow-up care for people who attempted suicide and provision of community support.


Happy #InternationalVolunteerDay We truly appreciate our volunteers and #mentalhealth advocates for your relentless efforts towards building a sustainable mentally healthy society for all. #Mentalhealthforall