In its effort to support and equip Nigeria’s women on mental health, psychological, a non-governmental organization known as ”The Support Nest Initiative” has trained officers’ wives in Abuja to help them navigate through peculiarities of military marriages as well as life.
The 5-day training which took place inside the Lungi Barracks focuses on the mental health of the Nigerian Military wives and will enable them to become first respondents and lay counsellors in their communities.
Speaking on Friday at the end of, the awareness, the Director of the organization, Bukola Ugbuji said that objective of the training is to the mental awareness and support to a person suffering from mental health illnesses, especially service, women, and their families.
She lamented that the mental health of the military wife has been neglected and as one of the officer’s wives who know the pains and would not want others to pass through the same.
According to her, while the military has psychologists and psychiatrists to look after the men, it seems as their families are neglected. At the end of the day, there are not enough military psychologists to go round.
“We are going to set up groups and distribute fliers and notification to people across the Barracks. We will tell them to call a particular number if they need to talk. The number will be routed to the women who will then be able to offer to counsel.
“Living and caring for the family member experiencing Pos-TrumaticStress Disorder PSTD could be challenging, that is why we have compiled the list of ways to support the affected family member.”
She revealed that that the organization also holds sensitization workshops and campaigns within the barracks and military formations to raise awareness of mental health issues particularly those common within the military.
Mrs. Ugbuji, the mental health enthusiast added that the 24 women have been trained to become lay counselors who will go into their communities and offer the first line of support to members of their community.
Speaking earlier, the facilitator and Special Programmes Coordinator for ILERA Community Health Initiative, Nigeria, Yomi Oloko revealed that its programme which was funded by the African Foundation for Development, UK was aimed at supporting training on mental health, a topic which is necessary especially with the trauma and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated that the women are trained to be lay counselors, explaining that the lay counsellors were ordinary people who want to be a helper or support people who have mental issues by listening to them and urging them to open up and talk to find their own solution to the issues they face.
“Lay counsellors are important particularly now that we had a lot of issues around depression and anxiety, especially with the COVID-19. A lot of people are worried and they need people they can talk to sometimes, they need independent or neutral people.”
One of the participants, Kauna Ottah, commended the organization for the training saying it will go a long way to help her handle people with mental health issues.
“Also, our personnel who are out there in the Northeast and Northwest might come back with trauma because of what they have experienced. The training is a welcome development because it is going to have a positive impact on our soldiers, we the spouse and our families.”