Festus Fajemilo Foundation (FFF), a disability-focused Non-Governmental organization has trained individuals with psycho-social disabilities and caregivers to properly manage psychosocial disabilities and other mental health issues.
Held at Surulere, the training is part of the Re-address Inclusion Rights and Empowerment (RIRE) Project supported by the Pan African Network for Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities (PANPPD) and International Disability Alliance.
Concluded in December, the project which spanned for four months sought to bring to the forefront the issue of psychosocial disability which has over time been neglected in the disability community especially post Covid-19 pandemic.
The project was also aimed at advocating for social change and inclusive policies, and to improve and advance services for persons with psychosocial disabilities.
The training also addressed cultural myths associated with psychosocial, disabilities, educating survivors of depressions and caregivers on how to properly manage cases of depression and psychosocial disabilities.
In the cause of the training, a participant who had in time past battled Psychosocial disability but wasn’t aware of his predicament attested to have suffered from the unique form of disability.
Speaking with BONews after the training, Mr. Afolabi Fajemilo, the Executive Director of FFF and Team Lead of the RIRE Project said so many people were going through mental health issues without being aware. He said the outbreak of COVID-19 further worsened the situation of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
He explained that many people developed psychosocial disabilities as a result of the anxiety and worries occasioned by the negative impact of the pandemic.
The director lamented that the issue of psychosocial disability and mental health were not given the required attention in the disability community.
Fajemilo said, “this is an aspect that is less talked about. There is a lot of stigmatisation and cultural myth around it and there is a need for a change of narrative around this subject matter, people need to have a change of perception and the unfortunate thing is that there are so many people that are going through mental health issue that they don’t even know.
“Those that have even been diagnosed are not ready to talk about it, and what this project has been doing is to raise awareness, advocate for policy change around mental health so that we can begin to change the perception of the society ,” he added.
On her part, the technical lead for project RIRE, Ms. Titi Tade called for the need to start normalising mental health issues, she said mental health issues should be treated like every other ailment like malaria and hypertension.
“The reality is mental illness like every physical illness can never totally disappear, we will always have people that have mental health issues amongst us and we need to start normalising mental health issues and avoid situations where we are stigmatising or discriminating against people with mental health issues.
“We should consider people treating mental health issues the same way we treat people who have malaria or hypertension and there won’t be room for any form of discrimination,” she explained
Further stating that mental illness is a behavioural condition, she called for the need to create knowledge, awareness, and address cultural myths.
She charged the National Orientation Agency to further raise awareness on mental health issues.