World mental health day has been set aside to be celebrated on October 10th each year for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. First celebrated by the world federation for mental health in 1992, the day has been used to support those in distress and to show the gap in humanitarian response towards mental health.
The 2016 World Mental Health day according to the World Federation of Mental Health is targeted at looking inward at mental health intervention for people who experience personal crisis which increases stress and likelihood of developing mental health problems.
Together with the World Mental Health Day, the mental health awareness week is held to promote social and emotional wellbeing to the community, encouraging people to maximize their health potential, enhancing the coping capacity of communities, families, individuals and increasing mental health recovery.
There are many people in Nigeria experiencing mental problems especially but not limited to the Northeast such as Borno, which was heavily affected by conflict causing psychological distress. With psycho-social interventions by UN organizations particularly UNICEF and IOM, some affected communities have been supported to cope with the psychological effect of conflict. With all the efforts and projects put in place, interventions are still far from adequate because of the level of attention given to mental health due to awareness and education of communities. Other parts of the country, including key decision makers at the Federal level remain far removed from the psychological effect of the conflict, with very superficial understanding of how it is impacting on the daily lives of the thousands of people that have been directly affected by it.
With the limited education of community education on mental health, children and adults with mental problems including anxiety, depression are not given proper attention and mostly get discriminated against, stigmatized and marginalized. For children, this situation also increases risks of abuse and exploitation.
A partnership has been sustained by Playback Nigeria, IOM, UNICEF and WHO as they commemorate the world mental health day and mental health awareness week 2016, creating awareness on mental health and providing space for sharing personal stories and experience for the 2nd time in a row following the 2015 commemoration.
The event which witnessed over 1000 people was held at the Teachers’ Village IDP camp in Maiduguri, Borno State on the 10th of October 2016. Playback Nigeria trainned and worked with 17 IDP youths to create 2 theatre presentation on psychological first aid among IDPs.