Empowering Communities, Fostering Mental Wellbeing

Every 40 seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide, and 77% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries like Nigeria, which has the highest cases of depression in Africa and ranks as the 15th most suicide-prone country in the world.  There are also many social issues in Nigeria that can influence a breakdown in mental health, like poverty, violence, terrorism, drug abuse and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, like fear, loss and health risks.

Evidently, there is a huge gap in access to mental health support in Nigeria. According to the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN, 2021), there are only about 250 psychiatrists in the country serving the over 200 million population. Also, there are only eight federal neuro-psychiatric hospitals, which means most people have to travel long distances to access these services. This inadequacy in the capacity to meet demands leaves a significant number of help-seekers unable to access quality care to support their mental health needs.

Nigeria, like Germany, Egypt and many other countries, has an emergency helpline with essential services like the police, but no mental health support. There are a few organizations that provide mental health services, but they are not easily accessible due to geographical and financial barriers, and lack of awareness.

The Nigerian non-profit Idimma is dedicated to closing the gap between what support services are needed and what is available with their Lay counsellors and emergency crisis 24-hour line.

BBS is pleased to support Idimma as part of our on-going commitment to accessible mental health resources for all, regardless of where they live. Specifically, this page is dedicated to helping raise the funds for Lay counsellor training scholarships and Idimma reach their goal of 200 Lay counsellors.

The expected outcome for training 200 Lay counsellors is to provide access to mental health support to up to 2000 persons within the span of one year.

Idimma is a youth-led mental health not-for-profit organization based in Nigeria. We are working towards bridging the inequality in access to mental health care in Nigeria. We do this by training lay counsellors who carry out interventions within their communities. Our approach also integrates a wholesome approach that factors in social needs like food, shelter, and economic empowerment in addressing access to mental healthcare.

Their core activity is focused on empowering communities with skills to improve their mental wellbeing, with a holistic integration of social and physical needs. This is why they train lay counsellors and psychological first aiders who provide mental health support within their communities.

Idimma envisions a world with strong support systems that foster mental wellbeing, through community-involved support programs that train lay counsellors and psychological first aiders with a strong referral system. By providing community-involved mental wellbeing programs that train lay counsellors and psychological first aiders, they will bridge the gap in awareness and access to basic psychosocial support, especially at grassroots levels.

Imagine a community in which every tenth person has learned counselling skills. To create a society with better listeners and better communicators, a society that is broadly more empathetic and caring for each other’s needs, Idimma will be creating a mentally healthier society that is broadly able to heal itself. 

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