An increase in mental health issues has been reported during the Covid-19 lockdown ©

British Council

July 2020

The Agent for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) programme has provided funds and technical support to the Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI) to address mental health issues. The CSO has over 200 health care practitioners that work across the country.

To address an increase in mental health issues and sexual and gender-based violence reported during the COVID-19 lockdown, MHEI launched a helpline for Nigerians experiencing depression, abuse, isolation, and other forms of mental disorders. The toll-free helpline enables individuals facing anxiety, depression, domestic violence, or sexual abuse to access a free online chat for emotional support and counselling.

The helpline provides access to trained mental health professionals, counsellors and experts online 24/7. Over 20 healthcare providers have been trained in the management of mental health issues, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. 

MHEI has also established a working group, comprised of experts from the fields of education, mental health and psychosocial support, to monitor mental health issues and the concerns of citizens, and to provide support to address mental health and psychosocial aspects during and after COVID-19 lockdown. 

This partnership is a result of ACT’s organisational capacity and system assessment carried out earlier this year. The initiative was primarily a self-reflection exercise for CSOs to identify and categorise their strengths and weaknesses. MHEI identified a gap and support for this area of work.

‘With ACT support, we are even more resolute in our commitment to providing psychosocial support for people going through mental health crisis, especially at this time when the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Ameh Zion Abba, Executive Director, MHEI