Supporting the Mentally Ill
We are building on the work we’ve done over last three years, creating vital support services for men and women suffering mental illness, whether they are adjusting to life after recovery from illness, exploring career options after leaving the Neuro-Psychiatric Specialist Hospital, or coping with ongoing illness.
Many of these sufferers will continue to need us for the rest of their lives. We provide ongoing support for the mentally challenged at the Neuro-Psychiatric Specialist Hospital by providing food, medicines, hospital beds, clothing, toiletries and moneythat they absolutely need to live in a dignified, humane manner. We are also working to extend our reach to Kaduna, Lagos, Jos, Abuja and the rest of Nigeria.
Drug Abuse Prevention
We are laying the groundwork for a mental health illness prevention & intervention program specifically targeting students who are abusing psychoactive drugs. Reports from different studies have shown an increasing trend of drug abuse in many African countries (Adelekan et al, 2000). Drug abuse has become a major public healthproblem in most nations of the world, and is becoming a major threat to the next generation of Nigerians.
Cannabis use has been linked to both current and future physical, psychological and social problems. The high prevalence of cannabis consumption and hazardous drinking behaviour among these adolescents together are already having adverse social effects on family, communities and the entire nation. There is a tremendous need, especially for high-risk youth in low-income neighbourhoods, for programs that provide drug-related mental health illness awareness activities during the school hours and throughout the year.
The four major components of the program we are working towards will be:
•School Mental Health Awareness through education, tutoring, mentoring and watching of mental health educational movies, presentations and interactive sessions.
•Nutrition Education to promote healthy lifestyles and combat mental illness.
•Teaching Life Skills which are integrated throughout all phases of the program.
•Tennis Instruction where participants engage in fun physical fitness, enjoyplaying as part of a team with friends and peers. They will also learn to become responsible adolescents and adults. Participants receive tennis instruction one-on-one and practice skills in team format play.
They learn about rules of the game, etiquette, sportsmanship, positive attitudes, fair play, self-esteem, taking responsibility for choices, and management of emotions. These life skills are integrated throughout the tennis program and instructors routinely demonstrate how they apply to situations in all aspects of life. Nutrition and healthy lifestyles are stressed both in the classroom setting and on the courts. Healthy snacks are provided.
Our drug use program is fortunate to have a corps of volunteers who are dedicated to the program and are available to work with the students on improving their mental health through academic programs.