First mental health fellowship inaugurated in Nigeria
In commemoration of the World Mental Health Day 2021, the first Mental Health Fellowship has been launched in Nigeria.
Founder of Mental Health Fellowship, Nigeria, Kunle Adewale, a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the University of California, San Francisco, in his welcome address at the inauguration, said: “The Mental Health Fellowship is an initiative driven by young people for young people and the next generation. The programme aims to provide an incredible network and professional development opportunities for young people where they can be inspired and inspire one another through peer mentoring and collective community projects on mental health education, advocacy and engagements.”
“Through the Mental Health Fellowship, we aspire to amplify the voices of the youths at local, national and global arena through collaboration with the relevant government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations, civil societies, diplomatic missions, among many others.”
Also, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate, Lagos, Jennifer Foltz, in her opening remarks said: “This year alone, he has launched no fewer than three different projects. Originally an artist, he has made a far-reaching foray into the field of medicine and has made a tremendous impact with all of his initiatives.”
She further stated that the fellowship is directly supporting one of the aims of the U.S. Mission, which is good health for the population. She, therefore, applauded Kunle for being an excellent alumnus who is contributing positively to Nigerian society.”
In the same vein, the keynote speaker, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri (The Leading and Vital Voice for Mental Health in Africa), emphasised that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), half of the mental health illnesses commence before the age of 14 and two-thirds before the age of 24.
She said: “Even though we have a global pandemic, increase in mental health issues is a pandemic within the pandemic.”
Adewale, in his closing remarks, said: “We believe that the youths have what it takes and our task as a fellowship is to help them create a synergy, build a system and strategy in achieving collective positive mental health for our shared humanity. Because mental health does not discriminate, let’s be human together regardless of our social status, race, tribe, ethnicity or nationality. Together, let’s raise mental health champions, advocates, activists, ambassadors and humanists that would make the world a better place.”