Developing Community Mental Health Services in Abuja, Nigeria







I will be in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria for 6 months from September 2019 to March 2020 working with UK based volunteer mental health practitioners mainly of Nigerian heritage and selected professionals in Nigeria.

The aim is to develop a pilot community mental health service in communities and schools training up teams of  Community Mental Health Support Workers and Lay Counsellors.

Between 2009 to 2013 I was the Coordinator of a UKAid/Comic Relief funded Diaspora Volunteering project in Lagos and Adamawa state came to an end.

This meant I had my ideal job invoving working and living in Nigeria for atleast 9 months of each year. 

When the funding ended I decided to relocate from Lagos to Abuja and spend my time working in the UK (Manchester ) for 8 months to self fund small development projects in Nigeria for 4 months of each year.

In 2018 I spent time reseaching the state of mental health provision in Nigeria.                                                                        

See some of my findings (based on various reports and briefings issued in Nigeria) below:                                                                                    

  • Nigeria has a population of nearly 200 million
  • There are less than 300 psychiatrists in Nigeria,
  • There are only 9 specialist mental health hospitals in Nigeria.
  • Suicide and substance misuse on the increase in Nigeria (especially among young adults)
  • 30% of Nigerians suffer mental illness
  • 22% of Nigerians suffer from chronic depression
  • 1 in 5 Nigerian youths have mental health problem
  • Only three percent of the country’s health budget goes to mental health

So while the stats might be depressing the reality is that mental health can rapidly be improved in Nigeria and the Diaspora can paly a vital role in doing so by giving their time to train up community mental health support teams

The WHO has pointed out that he best way for low- and middle-income countries to increase mental heal services is to create teams of lay mental health workers working at the community level.

As such from September I will be working with a number of agencies in Abuja and some UK based volunteers to pilot a programme based in Abuja, Nigeria training up:

Community Mental Halth Support Workers – to work in local communities in and around Abuja including schools and colleges

While I will be volunteering my time over the 6 months of the project

I still need to raise the sum of just £3000 between the months of September to February which will be used to:

A)  To run 8 to 10 training workshops to a selceted  cohort of 20 Community Health Extension Workers who will complete a 6 month training programme starting from October2019. At the end of he 6 month training some will be selected to attend a Train the Trainer programme

B) Pay a part time salary of an Abuja based Psychologist/Counsellor who will co facilitate training with he Diaspora volunteers

C) Provide subsidised accommodation to the Diaspora Volunteers while they are involved in running workshops in Abuja

As such I would very much appreciate you willingness to make a donation towards the £3000

All people that make a contribution will receive a regular newsletter updating them about the pilot’s progress.

NB: I'm also seeking interested UK based mental healt practitioners to volunteer as trainers on the programm. They must be willing to use he Diaspora experience platform to self fund themselves for a period of 2 to 3 weeks from  October 2019

To know how to become a volunteer mental health  trainer contact me on:


Mental Health Care Training Programme Nigeria

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AFFORD is a UK registered charity working to Expand and enhance the contribution that Africans in the diaspora make to Africa’s development.

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