RAISING AWARENESS FOR MENTAL HEALTH IN NIGERIA: BOYS MENTORING ADVOCACY NETWORK AND NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY TEAM LAUNCHING ANNUAL MARATHON RELAY CHAMPIONSHIP
LAGOS, NIGERIA – 3 October 2019 — It is estimated that one (1) in seven (7) souls — between 11% to18% of the 7.8 billion souls with whom we share Planet Earth – have one or more mental or substance abuse disorders. Globally, this means around one billion people in 2017 experienced one. The largest number of people had an anxiety disorder, estimated at around 4 percent of the population. According to the World Health Organization, mental health illnesses are increasingly becoming rampant. Approximately one (1) in four (4) adolescents throughout our global village struggle with mental or neurological disorder during their life span. Cognizant of the need to raise awareness for the mental health needs of Nigeria’s male adolescents and to help fund medical expenses incurred by souls diagnosed with mental disorders, the Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network (https://wwwbmanadvocacy.org) and the Nigeria International Men’s Day Team has announced the launching of the BMAN 6-Hour Annual Marathon Relay Championship. The BMAN 6-Hour Annual Marathon Championship is a charity dedicated to helping raise awareness for mental health disorders and assisting souls diagnosed with mental health disorders with payment of their medical expenses.
According to an Al Jazeera report (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/06/traditional-healers-nigeria-mental-healthcare-psychiatric-150606161409127.html), it is estimated that at least 40,000,000 Nigerians have some form of a mental health disorder. The report alleges that Nigeria is a nation which only has 130 psychologists Approximately eight (8) public mental health facilities exist in Nigeria and overcrowding exists at most of Nigeria’s asylums. In view of the absence of a Mental Health Act, a much needed national mandate to raise awareness for and aggressively address Nigeria’s mental health issues is nonexistent.
When asked why an athletic event has been selected as a vehicle to launch Nigeria’s National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, Mr. Ola Akinwe, the Founder and Executive Director of BMAN and the Nigeria Coordinator for International Men’s Day explained:
“Athletics work well for many of our young boys and because of their neurobiology, most boys are often drawn to the athletic field. Research completed over the last three decades continues to confirm that boys who stay involved in sports and athletics are more likely to succeed in school and less likely to engage in abuse of substances. While athletics is not for every boy, it can save the lives of a lot of them. Athletics fulfill the deep need in boys to do these five things at once – compete, belong, grow, perform, and improve. Athletics does all five of these in one activity. Research shows that roughly 65 percent of all boys in high schools participate in organized athletics because sports “give them a crew to belong to, a mission greater than themselves, and a male bonding experience that stimulates their social-emotional development.” The minute a boy puts on a uniform, he says, “I am part of something that absolutely matters. BMAN and the Nigeria International Men’s Day Team is issuing a “Call To Action” to every family and community to seek out and provide athletic experiences through the 6-Hour Annual Marathon Relay Championship as a means of raising awareness for mental health disorders in our nation.”
The BMAN 6-Hour Annual Marathon Championship has eight (8) objectives:
- To promote mental health education and awareness among teenage boys
- To discover and nurture young talents that could become Olympic Gold medalists
- To unite and promote peace among young boys
- To improve physical health and wellness among youths in Nigeria
- To decrease the rate of substance abuse in Nigeria
- To reignite the dreams of young boys in becoming professional athletes
- To fundraise for the establishment of ReStart Home for Mental Health (asylum) Recovery in each state in Nigeria.
- To offer scholarship and funding opportunities for students who major in Psychiatric medicine.
To learn more about the BMAN and Nigeria International Men’s Day Team launch of the BMAN 6-Hour Marathon Championship, contact Mr. Ola Akinwe by calling +234 802 301 0608 or +234 815 500 2255; sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visiting BMAN’s website at https://www.bmanadvocacy.org