I was delighted to have joined Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI- Lagos chapter) on their recent visit to Ikoyi prison last Saturday. It was a new experience for me, I’ve never been to a prison before. And yes it was worth it, owing to the great impact and the heart warming feeling of having touched a life positively. We engaged in discussions with the inmates on how the mind works and how they can channel their minds positively despite all they’ve being through. Contributions were also made for them.
Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI), a non-governmental organization founded by Victor Ugo (a medical practitioner) in 2015. Its focus is to eradicate the high level of ignorance, neglect and mis-education about mental health in Nigeria, a topic that has long been neglected by many including several health experts and even the Nigerian Government. MANI found it imperative to take up the job of demystifying and ‘un-spiritualizing’ mental health and other related issues. Given the prevailing lack of empathy and true knowledge of the intricacies of mental illnesses, the stigma attached to it and the purportedly sacrosanct approach to discussing mental health issues.
The organization helps to enlighten people on mental well-being thereby reducing stigma attached to mental health issues as well as creating a voice for the mentally ill; driven by the commitment to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues. The organization exists to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness including early identification, intervention for those at risk, integrated health as well as other services for those in need of them. It also provides referral services for people suffering with these illnesses so as to seek professional help from psychologist and therapist.
I’m really excited to be a part of MANI; great people and good friends, it is also a place you can share all your problems without being judged or condemned. A lot of visits, outreaches and reach outs have been done to improve the mental state of neglected Nigerians. So I want to appeal to anyone having any issue with depression, loneliness, self-doubts, suicidal thoughts, abuse and so on. Please reach out by contacting them on www.mentallyaware.org or follow them @mentallyawareng and @ManiLagos on facebook/ twitter/ instagram. You can also send me an email for further assistance.
The next even is coming up on the 27th of August; its organised by MANI – Abuja chapter (more details on the flier below).
If you also love to support or sponsor this great cause – the Lagos Chapter organize outreach events monthly – please contact them too.
Below are the pictures from the outreach. God bless us, God bless MANI and God bless Nigeria.