Sparking a Mental Health Revolution in Africa through an Academy - Part 3 (The Academy)

April 04, 2018


Sparking a mental health revolution in Africa through an Academy’ is a 3 part series through which I aim to share why I feel we need a mental health revolution in Africa, how to spark one and what I am doing in my corner. Read through Part 1 - The Status Quo, Part 2 - How to do it and Part 3 - The Academy to get the full picture. I am looking forward to your thoughts via email or in the comments section after each post. Also share the series with your networks...and remember, as long as you have a mind, you are a stakeholder therefore a much needed ally in this revolution. 

The Mental Health Academy
In Part 1 of the series - The Status Quo, I touched on the way things are in the mental health space in Africa and shared my interest in the field (partly based on my personal experience). In Part 2 - How 
to do it, I mentioned what needs to be done to spark a mental health revolution in Africa and what is already being done. In this 3rd and final part of the series, I share what I am doing and how you can be part of it.

Having done a lot of one on one work with people looking to get into the mental health space and interacted with a number of service providers in Kenya when running my support line and those in Nigeria through my mental health awareness tour that saw me visit 6 states, I have seen a gap and the need to capacity build the skills and tools that most service providers use in their advocacy and service delivery.

I decided to address this need through a design thinking in mental health social entrepreneurship program dubbed The Mental Health Academy (TMHA). The program aims to equip the next generation of mental health champions with self care, storytelling and social entrepreneurship skills, community and resources as well as link them to opportunities for funding, sharing their projects and contributing to local and global conversations.

TMHA is a build up to a 14 week project I ran in Kibera in 2014 (See highlights on Citizen TV’s Strength of a Woman feature) and fine tuned when studying for my Post Graduate certification in Social Innovation Management at Amani Institute - an institution that develops professionals who create social impact through its schools in Kenya, India and Brazil. (Amani Institute has endorsed the program).

The target group are people with lived mental health experiences who would like to make an impact in the space and those working in the space who would like to reframe how they offer their services.

The Mental Health Academy’s vision is an Africa where people with mental health conditions and their families have access to proper information and appropriate support. The Academy’s goal is to have directly impacted at least 200 mental health champions from different parts of Africa in the next 5 yearswith the necessary skills and tools to create impactful, sustainable and human centred innovations that meet the needs of people living with mental health conditions and their families.




The academy officially opened its doors in January 2018 (First 100 Days report here)
*TMHA offers selected units from the program to organisations looking to restructure their work or looking to start a new project or campaign. Units available are design thinking, storytelling, goal setting, self care and mental health basics, branding, business canvas, content creation and advocacy.




Testimonials 

Thank you so much Sitawa! After doing this accelerator, I feel motivated to start my platform. Your knowledge won't only help me but you will help many people in DRCongo. I feel that I am going to be an efficient mental health advocate for eastern congolese. You will always be a great source of inspiration and a great mentor for me. Keep shining. Love ❤ “- Sarah Namegabe, providing mental health information and support for people in Eastern Congo

Until you experience someone giving life to your dream, it always sounds good. Now I feel I can achieve a lot more. I am more aware of my potential. Story telling was the magical thing that brought life to my dreams. I am glad I took this opportunity- Brenda Jepkorir, family counseling for people living with epilepsy

Many people who have been affected directly or indirectly by mental health issues want to do something but it is difficult to step out and do it alone. Mental Health Academy has not only shown me how...but is holding my hand through the process...watch this space!- Charity Muthuri, intersection of mental health and crime

The accelerator gave me a quick jab into what I need to be doing for my practice. it gave me the necessary information and time to actually plan out the things that I need to do for my private practice with people walking with me and giving great feedback - Wairimu Muchiri, Practicing Psychologist

The program was eye opening. It offered an on-depth understanding of the mental health landscape in the region, while offering valuable tools that apply to my work in mental health and in my other ventures- Njeri Ndonga, providing mental health services to creatives

How you can be part of the revolution
Our current fellows represent Kenya, Eastern Congo and Nigeria. We are looking forward to working with representatives from each of the 54 African countries, so you can start by applying to join the academy

If you have skills in branding, business/enterpreneurship, content creation and management, advocacy and would like to either mentor or have an office with extra space that can host one of our fellows in your country,  email learn@thementalhealthacademy.org

Also subscribe to our newsletter to be in the know of what the academy, the mental health space and our fellows are up to.

As I stated earlier, as long as you have a mind, you are a stakeholder therefore a much needed ally in this revolution. 

Looking forward to hearing from you and working with you in the revolution.

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