The President of the Association of Phychritrist in Nigeria or APN has revealed that there are over 300 spectrums of mental health illnesses in Nigeria.
Obindo Taiwo, who was speaking at a workshop organised by the The Center for Journalism Innovation and Development or CJID in collaboration with Mental Health KAFE and APN in Abuja held recently, said the types of mental illnesses are listed in the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases or ICD-1.
Taiwo added that there is a need for all, especially journalists, to help protect the rights of people with mental illness and ensure fair reporting of mental health issues while safeguarding their own mental health.
The APN president encouraged journalists to show empathy in their use of language in describing mental health, as their work can empower and destroy a person with mental illness.
Sharing on the topic "Reporting on Mental Health and Suicide", Taiwo Lateef Sheikh, a Professor of Psychiatry/Psychopharmacology at Ahmadu Bello University, also gave insights on the nuances of reporting suicide.
He emphasised the need for journalists to include multiple risk factors, stories of hope, treatment and recovery rather than focusing on the tragedy while also advocating for the ‘decriminalisation’ of attempted suicide.
On his part, Kunle Adebajo, an investigative editor at HumanAngle, took participants through a session titled "Telling Mental Health Stories with Data."
During his presentation, he talked about the importance of data in enhancing the impact of mental health storytelling. He also highlighted how infographics are crucial in simplifying stories for audience understanding. Sometimes showing is better than telling, he explained.
The highlight of the training was the launch of the Mental Health Toolkit by Deborah Adenikinju, the Founder of Mental Health KAFE.
She held that the toolkit was developed with other organising partners, and the tool kit to reduce stigma and enhance awareness by empowering media professionals in Nigeria with the skills for effective, responsible, and ethical mental health reporting.