Mental Health is still sadly a taboo not worthy of discourse in Africa. Psychiatric patients suffer a lot of stigmatization and discrimination by a largely uninformed public.
A recent report by the World Health Organization said that about twenty million Nigerians suffer from mental illness with inadequate psychiatric care.
This is a rather scary statistic and the same rings true in the 54 countries that make up Africa.
We want to be the platform for no holds barred discussions on mental health across the African Continent as well as among Africans in the Diaspora as we believe that the long and tortuous journey to eliminating the stigma suffered by mental health patients in the continent starts with a miniscule step.
Tony Ademiluyi – Publisher/Editor-In-Chief
He is a freelance journalist, writer, editor and mental health advocate. His work have been published in leading African Magazines and Nigerian Newspapers including The Africa Report, Punch, Nation, Guardian, Vanguard, BusinessDay, Y Naija, Thisday, Daily Post and Sahara Reporters.
His initial dream was to be a human rights lawyer as he greatly admired the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN who was Nigeria’s number one human rights lawyer. However a mental health breakdown while studying Law at the University of Lagos put paid that ambition. While on hospitalization, he discovered his innate communication skills and decided to become a journalist and activist instead.
He dreams of an Africa devoid of mental health stigmatization. Largely inspired by Reverend Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi, he has decided to devote his entire life to the worthy cause of being the voice of the voiceless African mentally challenged.
He can be reached on email@example.com
Chibuzo Emelogu – Chief Operating Officer
He is a freelance creative writer who writes short stories and poems that highlight the plight of the mentally ill in Africa and ends with a call to action to end the stigma that they suffer.
He has worked as a volunteer with some mental health NGOs in Africa where he helped share free medications to some outpatients of different psychiatric hospitals in the country.
He is a graduate of English and Literary Studies from the University of Lagos and loves to experiment with an avalanche of recipes at his spare time.
He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org
Chantel Jackson – Diaspora Editor
She is a self-published author as well as a freelance writer, photographer and artist. She wrote for Represent Magazine for about 3 years and shot protest footage for them while being an intern.
She shot at protests for Black Lives Matter & ‘Save the Children’ which was in front of Trump Towers for the immigrant kids being held captive and separated from their families because of ICE.
She has won awards and competitions for her writings like the 19th Annual Awards for Youths in Foster Care, which was an essay-based competition with a grand prize of $1,000.
She dreamt of becoming a psychologist since she was 12 but the ups and downs of life diverted her path.
Her mental health journey started since 2014 when she was first hospitalized as a teen for a month in a ward due to a suicide attempt after hearing traumatic news about her mother. She decided to broaden her horizon & embark on a spiritual journey in 2019 and so she pays attention to moon phases and reads tarot cards.
In her free time, she likes to read, do digital art, learn new things and work out.
She can be reached on email@example.com
Professor Taiwo Lateef Sheikh
MB.BS (ABU), M.Sc, FWACP, Cert. GMH (Harvard)
Taiwo Lateef is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, an Alumni of Harvard Global Mental Health Course of Harvard Medical School. He obtained MBBS degree from the Medical School of Ahmadu Bello University (A. B. U.), Zaria, Nigeria in 1985 and M.Sc. in Clinical Pharmacology from the same University in1992. He is a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians (WACP), Faculty of Psychiatry.
He served as the head of department of Psychiatry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital from 2005 to 2009. He was Medical Director/Chief Executive Officer of Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna from 2010 to 2018.
He is a trainer and an Examiner at the Faculty of Psychiatry, WACP and Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons; He is a Faculty Member at Harvard Global Mental Health Course of Harvard Medical School and Kwame Nkurmah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi Ghana. He participated as Examiner at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Membership examinations, presently he is involved in supervision of post-graduate students pursuing Masters and Doctorate degree programs, and Residency training in mental health and related fields at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Zaria, Harvard University Medical School, and the West African Post Graduate Medical College.
He was the Secretary, Faculty of Psychiatry Nigeria Chapter WACP from 2009 to 2012, Faculty Secretary from 2013-2016 and Chairman of Faculty of Psychiatry, WACP from 2017 to 2020. He served as President of Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN) 2018 to 2021, he is currently the National Secretary (Nigeria), WACP (from 2020 to date), President Biological Psychiatry Society of Nigeria (BPSN), President Psychosocial Relief Society of Nigeria (NGO) and Chairman of Psycho-trauma working group of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria.
He is a member of the National Action Committee on Mental Health in Nigeria, where he participated in the revision of Mental Health Policy for Nigeria (2013). He is actively involved in the integration of Mental Health into Primary Health Care Service delivery in Nigeria. He is leading the group that is working on the Nigeria Mental Health Legislation (The Nigeria Mental Health Bill) that is currently in the legislative process of being passed into law by the Nigerian National Assembly. He has served in many policy working groups in the field of mental health and social services in Nigeria as well as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he has also served in various working groups of United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in Nigeria. Recently he was nominated to be a member of the high-level advisory committee to provide strategic guidance to Africa CDC on the implementation of the Non-Communicable Diseases, injuries and mental health strategy. He recently conducted a study on predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder among patients diagnosed with cancer attending Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Northern Nigeria.
Professor Sheikh is actively involved in Mental Health Policy decisions in Nigeria and ECOWAS, training of Mental Health Professionals across West Africa, as well as mentoring young Mental Health Professionals in research and carrier development across West Africa. He founded a group working with internally displaced victims of violent conflicts in Northern Nigeria and is currently working on the Psychological impact of the insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria.
He lead the development of culturally sensitive “trauma informed mental health and psychosocial intervention training for Clinicians and Non-Clinicians” for victims of insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria. He also lead the development of culturally sensitive “trauma informed mental health and psychosocial intervention guide for Clinicians and Non-Clinicians”. He is currently leading the Nigerian team (Principal Investigator) on a collaborative project investigating Genetics of Depressive disorders among Africans across three countries (Nigeria, Ethiopia and Malawi) through a Welcome Trust Grant.
Currently he is engaged in the training and supervision of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students, and Resident Doctors in the field of mental health.
He has authored and co-authored many peer reviewed journal publications and monographs, has also participated in World Bank technical reports and presented papers at many international conferences.
He is a recepient of several awards and honors, among which is the Best Medical Director of Federal Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria award and Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation Merit Award for Services to Humanity.
Dr. John Akinshola Akinbote
Dr. John Akinshola Akinbote has over ten years of experience in teaching and clinical services with special interest in mental health and addiction recovery programs in Nigeria and the United States of America.
He has been involved in the training of resident doctors as well as medical and nursing students. He has supervised numerous dissertations and is up to date with the latest research methods.
He currently lectures at the Great Paragon Health Inc (Nursing School) North Chicago, Illinois where he spearheaded the Anti-Substance Abuse Counseling Initiative. He has also worked as an Addiction Counselor in several institutions in the US.
While in Nigeria, he worked with Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti, Ekiti State as a Consultant Psychiatrist and was a senior lecturer at the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti. He was also a medical officer at the Hospital Management Board, Alagbaka, Akure.
He was educated at the Governors State University, University Park, Illinois, West African College of Physicians and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
He has several published works.
PROFESSOR TAIWO JAMES OBINDO
M.B.Ch.B.(Ife); FWACP (Psychiatry)
Taiwo James OBINDO is a graduate of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife where he obtained his Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.Ch.B). He had his residency training at Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos. He is a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians, FWACP (Psychiatry).
He was employed by the University of Jos, Jos. Plateau State and was appointed an Honorary Consultant with the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos. Plateau State. He was a visiting Consultant to the department of Psychiatry, Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi. Benue State. He was also an External examiner to the Department of Psychiatry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Osun State and University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State.
He is currently a Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Sciences of the University of Jos and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist with Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos.
He holds the following positions:
- President, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN)
- Chairman, Faculty of Psychiatry, West African College of Physicians, WACP (Nigeria Chapter)
- Member, Ethics and Grievances Committee of Academic Staff Union of University, University of Jos Branch.
Former Positions held include:
- Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of Jos/ Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos. Plateau State.
- General Secretary, Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN)
- Secretary, Faculty of Psychiatry, West African College of Physicians (WACP)
- Immediate Past Chief Examiner, Faculty of Psychiatry, West African College of Physicians (WACP)
- Member, 2021 Search Team for the Vice Chancellor, University of Jos.
Prof. Obindo is a husband of one wife he calls “My Abode” and the union is blessed with three (3) wonderful Children.
He has to his credit over forty (40) peer-reviewed original research articles in various reputable, high impact journals both locally, nationally and internationally. He has also supervised over seven (7) residents’ dissertations and a Ph.D. student.
He is a clergy, consummate teacher, astute clinicians, and an advocate against stigma and discrimination against the mentally ill and other vulnerable groups.
He loves playing scrabble and engages in watching and playing football and Badminton at his leisure time.