February 4, 2023

Nigerian NGO takes mental health campaign to prisons

ZEF with officials of Jos Plateau prison

To mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, a Nigerian nongovernmental organization, Zishiya Empowerment Foundation has sensitized inmates of three correctional service centres in Jos, Plateau State.

The campaign for proper mental health care was taken Shendam Prison in Plateau South, Pankshin prison in Plateau Central and Jos Prison in Plateau North with motivational books shared to inmates to boost their mental health.

Prison inmates are at high risk of mental health disorder, said Chief Executive Officer, Zishiya Empowerment Foundation, Mrs. Violet Nyelong Kaburuk Adama.

ZEF at Shendam Prison

“Some of them have been in detention for years with prolonged or no trial. Some were even convicted for offences they knew nothing about and some of these people have families who dominate their thoughts all the time. These people are prone to mental health disorders, and/or drug abuse which eventually impact the mental health of a person negatively. Sadly these issues if not promptly treated can be passed on to generations,” said Violet.

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

ZEF at Pankshin prison

The 2020 mental health day has the theme: “Mental health for all.” Zishiya Empowerment Foundation carried out the enlightenment tour to include inmates who are rarely considered for such interventions, Violet said.

ZEF was founded in March 2020 primary to address drug related issues through sensitization, treatment and rehabilitation of addicts and those on the path to addiction.

The NGO is reputed to have rescued many drug users and empowered many including impoverished members of the society who are at risk of drug abuse from falling victims.