A frontline Europe-based NGO, AFRIKINDNESS, held its first worldwide live panel discussion.

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AFRIKINDNESS has recently held its first live worldwide panel discussion on Tackling the mental health challenges and crisis of a black child across continents. The powerful worldwide event which had speakers and professionals on its panel came up with vital challenges and remedies on various issues concerning children and young adults around the continents. The discussion was filled with great advice and a few of the topics and issues addressed are:

1.  Identity crisis in children, the danger, and what parents should do.
2.  Statistics of mental health and the risk factors affecting children.
3. Lagos State Government response lifeline – What is Lagos state Government doing among challenges faced by children and young adults in the state

4. Parents’ ignorance and the impact of cultural beliefs, traditions, etc. on children. The role of educators and teachers in identifying and supporting black children in schools.

5. Boys and mental health issues.
6. Solutions and recommendations to parents and teachers of this generation.

Addressing the Afrikindness worldwide live event, Kwabena Kusi-Mensah, Senior Specialist psychiatrist and CAMH professional Ph.D., University of Cambridge emphasized that Africa has a major burden of mental health illness contrary to previously held conceptions that mental illness is something foreign and predominant only in the western world.

He said recent statistics have shown that we have comparable prevalence data to worldwide figures of child and adolescent mental health disorders, lamenting that the current prevalence in Nigeria and Ghana (mental health reports within the last 12 months) is around 18-20% while lifetime prevalence indicates 30-40% diagnosable mental health illness. Unfortunately, he said, there are still more unrecognized mental illness cases in Africa.

In her contribution, Prof Mrs. Olayinka Olusola Omigbodun, the first Nigerian female Professor of Psychiatry and Provost of the College of Medicine, the University of Ibadan in Nigeria opined that mental health is a positive word. It is the capacity to achieve and maintain optimum psychological functioning and well-being. It relates to a child having that sense of identity and self-worth, sound family and; peer relations, and the ability to be productive and learn.

For children in diaspora, Prof. Omigbodun said what we need to look at is how we can promote their mental health, programs in schools in the UK which can also promote the mental health of a black child. Looking at the spectrum of mental health from prevention to care and; treatment, then to recovery, it is important to look at preventing our children from having mental health disorders. Looking at the risk factors and having programs that can help prevent those risk factors like traumatic experiences, abuse, etc in children.

Among remedies mentioned was the need to consider how care and treatment are accessible to black children with mental disorders in UK and Africa. Also, there is a need to look at the measures in place in terms of recovery to help the black child, once these key areas are addressed, then a black child will thrive in any environment according to Prof Mrs. Olayinka Olusola Omigbodun.

The webinar had expert line-up of panel speakers from across the UK, Nigeria and Ghana. 

The line-up of speakers includes-
Chinyere Nduu Okoro, Mental Health Facilitator
Kwabena Kusi-Mensah, Senior Specialist Psychiatrist, Ph.D. University of Cambridge
Ebuka Obika Ede, Boys Coach, Founder, Save the Boys Initiative
Omobolanle Idowu, Mental Health Counsellor
Oyinkansola Akinwande, Mental Health Advocate NHS
Dr. Modupe Oba-Adenuga, Lecturer Tai Solarin College of Education
Abraham Adetula, Senior Mental Health Worker NHS
Ibby Oshinowo, Educator at Robert Gordon’s College
Mrs. Olayinka Olusola Omigbodun, The First female provost, Professor of Psychiatry and the Provost of College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan

Read the press release here.


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