Mental health in African society matters. This week across the world marks the significance of World Mental Health Day 2016.
One such charity that knows just how much of a difference good mental health services can make in the developing world is Amaudo UK. This charity has been supporting people in South Eastern Nigeria experiencing mental health issues and learning disabilities for 26 years.
Photo Credit: Amaudo UK Photo Archives, 2013 World Mental Health Day
The charity’s work has successfully shown how sustainable mental health treatment, rehabilitation and education can reduce the stigma that comes with mental health conditions in traditional African communities. This in turn gives people the opportunity to seek support, recover and reengage with their families and communities.
The word ‘Amaudo’ comes from the Igbo language and means ‘the village of peace’ and started as a project in 1990 through the pioneering efforts of World Methodist Peace Prize recipient, Ros Colwill. The charity provides a number of mental health services including a 24 hour full-residential mental health care Centre in the South Eastern part of Nigeria in Abia state. This service is for homeless mentally ill people and is free. Other community based projects support those experiencing mental illness in the homes.
In the words of Chief Executive Kate Lumley “To date Amaudo has helped thousands of people access mental health services in Imo, Abia, Ebonyi and Anambra states. Currently it meets the needs of over 70 residents that live in its two centres and hundreds more people visit its community mental health clinics every month. Amaudo is a pioneering organisation which supports some of the most marginalised people in Nigeria.
About the Amaudo Centres:
Amaudo Itumbauzo delivers practical, emotional, educational, therapeutic and psychiatric care at their two communities and at their two residential centres. This pioneering work is delivered across South East Nigeria, in Abia, Ebonyi, Imo and Anambra states via four core projects:
- Amaudo Okopedi: (Amaudo 1) is a residential centre which provides a holistic rehabilitation programme for homeless adults with chronic mental health problems.
- Amaudo Ntalakwu (Amaudo 2) is a long stay centre for former Amaudo 1 residents who are unable to return home home, as well as abandoned adults and children with severe learning and physical disabilities.
- Project Comfort is a community based rehabilitation service for children and young people with learning and physical disabilities.
- The Community Mental Health Program (CMHP) provides a network of over seventy community mental health clinics led by community psychiatric nurses across four states and in collaboration with Local, State and Federal Governments.
Amaudo UK is supported by patrons – poet and author Jackie Kay MBE and Nollywood actor Sam Dede. They also work with Amaudo UK to highlight the importance of mental health care in Nigeria.
If you would like to support the work of Amaudo UK please visit www.amaudo.org