Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI), a mental health advocacy organization in Nigeria, focused on tackling mental health issues and curbing the prevailing problem of depression and suicide in Nigeria, have recently featured in its mental health orientation programme recently held at Transceners International College and at Okelele Senior and Junior Secondary School respectively in Ilorin, Kwara State, Emmanuel Oluwasayomi Ahmadu, popularly known as Mr Voiceover, a Kwara serving corps member whose sensational story recently broke the internet, got global attention and got him featured on “Great Stories” on the international television network, British Broadcasting Corporations (BBC) and on other media platforms worldwide on how he survived through life threatening experiences that led him to write O’level exams seventeen (17) times in five (5) years before securing admission into the University, yet he did not quit.
The corps member who narrated his ordeals during the MANI orientation outreach at Okelele Secondary School in Ilorin East, where he addressed students who were about 2,500 from both junior and senior sections as well as addressed students of Transcenders International College, Ilorin respectively in their hundreds, said he was at a stage terrified about what life holds when situation went sour and every hope seemed lost, even at the point that he became fatherless. Still, he kept all hope alive and today his story is a book before the world, serving as a source of hope in tackling the menace of depression and suicide in the country.
He admonished those passing through difficult situations to remain calm and forget suicide thoughts, laying emphasis that suicide can never be a solution to any predicament.
According to him, “No matter how much pain you’re experiencing right now, you are not alone. Some of the finest, most admired, needed, and talented people have been where you are now. Many of us have thought about taking our own lives when we have felt overwhelmed by depression and devoid of all hope. But the pain of depression can be treated and hope can be renewed. No matter what your situation, there are people who need you, places where you can make a difference, and experiences that can remind you that life is worth living. It takes real courage to face death and step back from the brink. You can use that same courage to face life, to learn coping skills for overcoming depression, and for finding the strength to keep going.”
While reacting to questions on how to tackle depression and suicidal thoughts, he said the first step in coping with depression is to share disturbing thoughts and open up to persons who can share in our burdens. According to him, “It may be a family member, friend, therapist, member of the clergy, teacher, family doctor, coach, or an experienced counselor. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. Don’t let fear, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help. And if the first person you reach out to doesn’t seem to understand, try someone else. Just talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up and help you find a way to cope.
Also, he advised that students should desist from all forms of Immoral behaviours in order not to truncate their careers and bring shame to the country as future leaders. Most students and youths are fond of comparing themselves with others through what they see on the social media with feelings of inferiority complex, which most times leads to unnecessary pressures of which have caused many youths frustration, depression and triggered suicidal thoughts in the end. Because in recent times depression has emerged as a predominant health challenge leading to young persons taking their own lives and engaging in societal vices, due to their inability to cope with societal and life pressures, thereby giving rise to internet frauds, political thuggery, pornography and addiction, cultism, exam malpractices, prostitutions, drug abuse, school dropouts, rape, teenage pregnancy and other societal misconducts prevalent amongst youths in the country.”
Kwara State MANI Coordinator, Doctor Obabire Adeyemi told our correspondence that the mental health agency, a nonprofit organization is focused on ascertaining a sustainable mental health care for all and sundry, while seeking the support of relevant stakeholders, Government and individuals to support MANI’s vision in tackling the life-threatening mental health illness of depression, suicide and many others which is posing a great danger to both the poor and the rich in the country.
Also, the mental health orientation programme featured presentation from the three- MANI Orientation team varied from Kayode-Dada Ifeoluwa Lois, Ridwan as well as from other professional mental health volunteer experts.