By Lolo Ayaba
With about 60 million Nigerians being at risk of depression, experts say depression and anxiety have become a global public health crisis.
The figure was made known to Nigerians at the official launch of the pilot location of Joy Hub, a non-clinical, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory emotional and mental health walk-in centre where young people dealing with depression, trauma, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts can access help.
The pilot centre located in Surulere Lagos, was initiated by Joy, Inc. in partnership with Mentally Aware Nigeria and Olamma Cares.
According to the founder of Joy Inc, Chude Jideonwo, “Depression and anxiety have become a global public health crisis, and with Joy, Inc.’s research in partnership with NOI Polls revealing that 60 million Nigerians are at risk of depression, it has become urgent to marshal the public imagination and resources across Africa to tackle the issue and build more healing communities”.
According to Jideonwo, the vision is to build at least 20 more centres across West Africa by the end of 2020 with a hub set up in every community across the continent by 2035. Leveraging on the 353 million mobile phone subscribers on the continent, these mental and emotional health resource centres will be supported by an integrated tech platform and community. We will work with funders and investors across the world to achieve our ambitious but achievable goal of transforming Africa into a mental, emotional, and spiritual safe space.
In his remarks, Dr. Kitan Jinadu, the representative of the Lagos State Mental Health Desk and Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Health, commended the team on the brilliant initiative, stating that such initiatives are needed to address the mental health epidemic.
Dr. Gbonjubola Abiri, a psychiatrist and member of Joy, Inc.’s Global Advisory Council noted that “the Joy Hub is very important because young people need safe spaces where they can go to let out their emotions and speak to people that they feel they can pour out their hearts to. The Joy Hub has come to stay for this purpose and the partnering organizations will work towards ensuring that the work continues to progress.”
Led by the Ag. Chief Operating Officer of Joy, Inc., Damola Morenikeji, the guests were taken on a tour of the Hub, with workspaces for the partnering organizations, lounge, counselling rooms, meeting rooms, The Affirmation Wall and the ‘screaming room’ – for those who need space to let out their emotions (loudly).
The launch of the Hub was commemorated by the official opening of the helpline which people can call for necessary mental and emotional help or just someone to talk to.
Some of the celebrities who graced the launch include: Timi Dakolo, Iyin Aboyeji, Adebola Williams, Adaora Mbelu, Bolanle Olukanni and others.