From Sani Gazas Chinade, Maiduguri
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided mental health and psychosocial support services to 10,000 people in Borno state, Nigeria, over the past eight years.
Comfort Dauda, the ICRC Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Field Officer, made this announcement during the sideline activities to mark World Mental Health Day in Maiduguri, Nigeria, on Friday, October 7, 2023.
Dauda said that the ICRC has been providing mental and psychosocial support for people affected by the violence of armed conflict in the state.
She explained that the ICRC has provided basic psychosocial support, psychological first aid, psycho-education, awareness-raising, community-based activities, counseling, group therapy, psychiatric and psychological assessments, and treatments to the beneficiaries.
According to Dauda, the beneficiaries drawn from Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Damboa, Dikwa, Monguno, and Bama were provided with ten weeks of psychosocial support services.
She noted that those who accessed the services included internally displaced persons (IDPs), missing persons, hospital patients suffering weapon wounds, frontline healthcare workers, and people in detention.
“We are supporting such patients in Umaru Shehu Hospital, State Psychiatric Hospital, State Specialist Hospital, and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospitals in the state to provide such services to the victims,” Dauda said.
Dauda also said that the ICRC has collaborated with the State Psychiatric Hospital to train social workers and nurses to support people affected by violence on mental health and psychosocial support services.
She added that the ICRC is also in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and Women Affairs to provide psychological support services to women and girls who are victims of sexual violence.
“We are currently working in three communities in the MMC including Ngaranam Bayan Quaters and Libya Bayan Texaco where over 340 people with the same symptoms go to the centers to sit down and interact for ten weeks with our mental health and psychosocial support professionals,” Dauda said.
Batul Bulama, an IDP, said that she recovered from trauma after accessing mental health and psychosocial services provided by the ICRC.
Bulama said that before she was treated in one of the centers, she was depressed and had serious health complications after they were displaced in their community by Boko Haram insurgents.