On October 10, the Kintsukuroi Foundation and the AUN Public Health Club marked the World Mental Health Day on campus with the theme “Psychological First Aid.”
Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members in more than 150 countries.
At AUN, the event was hosted at the Commencement Hall lobby, first-of-its-kind event in raising mental health awareness on campus. It featured a play, poetry, and speakers from the AUN community and Adamawa State Specialist Hospital.
Founder of Kintsukuroi Foundation and alumna, Ms. Blessing Douglas, explained that Mental Health Day is an annual event set to raise mental health awareness and to condemn the stigmatization of victims of mental illness. She complained of a lack of sensitization in local communities to better inform sufferers to seek or accept assistance.
University psychologist Dr Regina Mousa also spoke, explaining that mental illness could be linked to either biological or hereditary causes. She went on to state that many people suffer from schizophrenia, panic attack, and stress-related illnesses but don’t even know it, and that four out of five people in every culture believe that mental illness is a spiritual problem, thereby stigmatizing the victims.
Dr. Mousa advised students to visit the AUN Counselling Unit if they suffer depression or distress. “Please regard your mind as the most important gift from God.”
Dr. Umar Joel from Adamawa State Specialist Hospital, Yola, told the audience that mental illness is curable if victims adhere to their medications.
The event also featured invited guests including internally displaced persons who have reintegrated into the community and are suffering post-traumatic disorder.
By Nelly Ating