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Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy programme (mhLAP) took off in Nigeria in January 2010 with the appointment of Woye Fadahunsi, B.A, MA as the country facilitator and the setting up of the country office. The country facilitator’s immediate activities include:

1. Conducting qualitative and quantitative study of mental health care services in the country with a view of producing a situation analysis report for the country
2. Attending the 2week Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy training course
3. Attending the national stakeholder’s on mental health meeting that was held in October 2010
4. Reaching out to identified mental health leaders and compiling the list of likely stakeholders

Situation Analysis

The first few months of the year was spent in preparing the country’s mental health situation analysis that includes collecting data on the numbers of mental health facilities, services and service providers.  Key informant interviews were also conducted among identified mental health leaders on their views on mental health services in the country.

Mental Health Leadership Training Course
The Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Training (mhLAP) course 2010 was the first of the training course and attracted 30 participants from Nigeria and Mozambique. The participants include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, NGOs and ministry of health officials from across Nigeria and Mozambique. The training provided a good opportunity to learn more about the nature of mental illness and the best way to plan for and advocate for improved mental health services. The training also provides the country facilitator the opportunity to interact and share ideas with the mental health leaders present. The nucleus of the stakeholder’s membership was established at the training.

The National stakeholder’s on mental health meeting

The national stakeholder’s forum on mental health in Nigeria, drawing membership from mental health leaders and advocates from across the country is a WHO initiative with the active collaboration of the FMOH. The major preoccupation of the national stakeholders on mental health in Nigeria was to ensure the passage of the draft mental health legislation and policy. The CBM, through the regional adviser on mental health, West Africa Dr. Julian Eaton was actively involved in the activities of the national stakeholder’s on mental health. Dr Eaton was of the impression then that the existing stakeholder’s body could be transformed into the planned stakeholder’s group. The country facilitator attended the meeting of the national stakeholders that held at the UN in Abuja on the 3rd of October, 2010. Having attend the meeting, it was realized that for logistic reasons, that include funding and getting some of the participants to come to Ibadan, it was decided that there was the need to draw up a new list that will include some of the national stakeholders member as well as others that were not represented in the national stakeholders, especially the civil society group.

Some of the members at a recent stakeholder’s meeting

Reaching out to probable members
The first few months of the year was spent in consultation with and the compilation of the list of prospective members of the stakeholders group for effective mental health advocacy. The final list includes mental health professionals/groups, policy makers, media practitioners, civil society groups, NGOs and service users.

Highlights of activities for the year include 2011

1.    The inaugural meeting of the stakeholder’s forum was held at Ibadan on the 28th of April, 2011 with the project director present to address the members on the import of the stakeholder’s group with regards to mental advocacy in the country. Officials of the group were elected at the end of the meeting. Officials elected include:

  • Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, consultant psychiatrist and NGO founder as the national coordinator
  • Pastor Emmanuel Owoyemi, CEO Mental Health Foundation as the deputy national coordinator
  • Mrs. Sade Oguntola, a journalist as the secretary
  • Mr. Nelson Ekujimi, a university lecturer and civil right activist as the public relations officer

2.    Coordinated the 2001 leadership and advocacy workshop, a follow-up to the 2010 mental health leadership and advocacy training at Ibadan between Wednesday, 1st  and Friday the 3rd of June,2011. The workshop was designed to review the activities of some of the participants at the 2010 training and brainstorm on the best approach for maximal impact. The workshop facilitators include Prof. Gureje, Dr. Alex Cohen and Dr. Julian Eaton. Aside from the participants from Nigeria, two participants from Ghana that include Peter Yaro, Country Program Manager, Basic Needs, Ghana and Minatu Montana, President MESHOG (Mental Health Society of Ghana) were brought in specifically to share their first hand experience of an outreach service.

3.    The stakeholder’s executive members held a meeting at Ibadan on the 20th of July to review the forum’s activities and programmes as well as to prepare the agenda for the next stakeholder’s meeting. The national coordinator briefed the meeting about his visits to Abuja and Ilorin.

4.    The second stakeholder’s meeting was held on the 28th of September and it featured the introduction of new members. Some other organizational issues resolved/discussed include:

  • The setting up of a constitution drafting committee
  • The constitution of the guidelines committee
  • The resolve to extend the activities of the forum to more states in the country

Mr. Samuel Oyewusi, B.A, MSW was appointed the country facilitator in January 2012.

Updates on mhLAP activities in Nigeria


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Comments on our Training

I have been an advocate for 3 years now but I have never been so equipped like I did with this training and it will go to show even in my work as a radio presenter, even in areas that are not Mental Health related.

Lamin K. Sanyang, The Gambia

“The training has made me a better presenter and producer. I have written down topics that could be discussed on my programme. I also plan to reach out to the president’s wife NGO on the issue of mental health through the advocacy skills I have learnt from the training and then produce jingles in between programmes on mental health

Fatima Hassan, Markudi, Nigeria


“I am grateful for this opportunity to come to Nigeria and be part of this training, I feel greatly empowered”

Boniface Chitayi, Kenya


“I have attended lots of training but this mhLAP training has more positive impact on me than all other trainings I have attended. I have learnt the skills I need to advocate for mental health issues. I plan to factor in mental health into the district work plan in Sierra Leone

Hannah Bockarie, Sierra Leone


“The course was a great awakening. I feel a great burden in my heart because I now realize that there is much work to be done. I plan to adopt two PHCs in Osun state and offer free psychiatrist ser

Opakunle Tolulope, Osun, Nigeria


‘It was a nice multicultural experience from different African countries and a means of networking. Thank you very much’

Roseline –A – Okoth, University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences, Kenya



‘The course was very interesting, informative, educative and very interactive. The application of group work after every lecture also facilitates practical applicability of all the lectures. I have learnt various multidimensional means of promoting, preventing and carrying out advocacy for many areas of mental health disorders. I congratulate the organizers for a great work’

Dr. A.O Coker

‘Exposure to mental health care perspectives from various countries has given me a well rounded perspective of mental health care in Africa’


Aneshrey Moodley,  Consultant psychiatrist, South Africa

‘I had a good experience both with the facilitators and co-participants. This is more in terms of the multidisciplinary approach to mental health issues. There was clear absence of over simplified assumptions for professional convenience (psychiatrists).’


Akpoju Ogbole Samuel, Programme Officer, Nigeria

‘Learning took place formally during the session and during the group work. Significant learning also took place during informal interaction out of session learning about the experiences in different country. I feel better equipped to function in the stakeholder council and also in my work as head of a faith based health need’


Walter Carew, Executive Director, (CHASL) Sierra Leone

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