Yale University
From Left: Faculty member, School of Medicine, Yale University, United States, Prof. Ted Iheanacho; Director for Africa & Middle East, Eddie Mandhry; Vice President, Yale Club of Nigeria (Class ’80); Mr Lawrence Fubara; President\Vice Chancellor, Yale University, Professor Peter Salovey; President, Yale Club of Nigeria (Class ‘70), Dr Haroun Adamu and Associate programme director, School of Medicine, Yale University, Prof. Charles Dike, at a media briefing on the university’s Africa initiative project on mental healthcare in Nigeria held in Lagos, on Friday.

By Emmanuel Okogba

As a step towards reducing mental health issues and the stigmatization that comes with it, Yale University has entered into a partnership with Imo State to proffer solutions and provide resources that will help those facing such health challenges.

The partnership was set in motion with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Imo state government on Health Action for Psychiatric Problems in Nigeria including Epilepsy and Substances (HAPPINESS Project) at the weekend in Lagos.

Addressing newsmen, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, and co-founder of Happiness Project, Thaddeus Iheanacho explained that the project seeks to bring solutions to areas of the country where getting treatment for mental health has been a challenge.

His words: “The goal is to expand the program to all primary care facilities in Imo state and eventually to other Nigerian states by training primary care workers in Imo State to screen for, assess, and treat mental health conditions like depression, psychosis, and anxiety.

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“The program initially taught more than three dozen healthcare workers how to integrate mental health services into routine primary care. Over 50 patients were seen after the first training session and many more people who otherwise would have gone without treatment are now being evaluated and treated by clinicians.

“Most of these people would otherwise not have access to treatment or else would have travelled five or six hours to get it. Anything we can do to push the needle, even if we can only get 100 people into care, it’s worth it.”

President of Yale University, Peter Salovey while making his remark on the partnership, said the global health leadership initiative is a collaboration among researchers, practitioners, policymakers around the world that involves experience in medicine, nursing, public health and management looking at great global health challenges.

The partnership between Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Imo State University Teaching Hospital is supported by the Yale Global Mental Health Program, CBM International, the Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Row Foundation (USA) and the Imo State Government.

The Happiness Project is an initiative of both Thaddeus Iheanacho and Charles Dike who are both associate Professors of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and both indigenes of Imo state.

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