The Sapphires Development Initiative


The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day was making Mental Health and Well-being for all a global priority. This reveals there is a problem that needs to be curbed with more and more people worldwide are getting depressed, suicide being on the increase, even among youths. In order to preserve lives who are at the core of the Agenda 2030, it is important to place priorities on the mental health of all irrespective of background, race, religion, gender, etc. It is important to create an atmosphere where speaking up is celebrated.

On the 10th of October, 2022, The Sapphires Development Initiative reached out to 100 Senior Secondary School Adolescents in Adifase High School in Apata, Ibadan, Nigeria in commemoration of this year’s World Mental Health Day. Ably led by Ifeoluwa Olumuyiwa, co-facilitated by Precious Adenigbagbe and Adeyosola Aderogba, the students were enlightened on the essence of protecting their mental health even at such a time as this in their lives.

The event was carried out for over 1 hour with the students being divided into groups of tens in order to carry out a mini baseline survey about the knowledge and perceptions of the students with regards to mental health. After this, there was an ice breaking session (getting comfortable with the facilitators and volunteers) and a brief background into mental health, its attributes, and how it comes up in all of our day-to-day activities. Following this, there was the “what if?” session which was extremely engaging as the students shared their thoughts about different personal scenarios like what they would do if they noticed a friend started being quiet after a failed exam, if they were being bullied etc.

Rounding off, the students were enlightened on how to place priority on their mental health as it is equally as important as their physical health. Myths about mental health were debunked especially the myth about mental health being related only to insanity, speaking up being a sign of weakness. Lastly, the students took home tips to ensure they preserved and had a healthy mental process. The use of MY PEERS as a guideline to ensure proper mental wellness was introduced to the students. They were fully left with the knowledge that IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY and IT IS IMPORTANT TO SPEAK UP AND GET HELP! Here is an insight into the meaning of MY PEERS.
M- Meaningful life
Y- Your goals
P- Pleasant activities
E- Engagement
E- Exercise and eat well
R- Relationships
S- Sleep well
World Health Organization (WHO) in 2021 reports that depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the global burden of disease. The mental health of an individual is as important as the physical and more priorities need to placed on the subject matter. This is why educating the youths and children even in rural communities in Nigeria about their mental health is important in order to ensure good health and wellbeing, optimal harnessing of potentials, empowerment and a healthy self-esteem. All of which are essential for creating a sustainable, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous future. The Sapphires Development Initiative would stop at nothing to continually educate the marginalized children and youths in our communities about leadership and the SDGs.

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