Maiduguri - The International Office of
Migration (IOM) has established mental health resource centres across
northeastern Nigeria to support thousands of people fleeing the Boko Haram
Communities hosting the refugees will also benefit from the
nine centres launched as part of IOM’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
(MHPSS) project, established in Nigeria in May 2014, following the abduction of
over 200 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno State.
Supported by the French and German governments, the MHPSS
project has reached more than 100 000 people with counseling, group support,
recreational activities, informal education for adults, conflict mediation, and
job opportunities since 2014. The project also addresses sexual and
gender-based violence, and other protection challenges that internally
displaced persons (IDPs) face in camps.
Project Manager, Pauline Birot, said many people who fled
their homes to escape Boko Haram, or who were abducted by the group,
experienced a lot of psychosocial distress, including depression and anxiety.
“The resource centres are important because they provide a
space where people can share their experiences, learn coping mechanisms to manage
trauma, find support networks within their community, and access specialized
services for pre-existing conditions often left untreated during the conflict,
like schizophrenia,” she added.
Also read: Cleared Boko Haram suspects reunite with families
Primarily located in five displacement camps in Maiduguri, the
centers were also built in camps in Benisheik to the west of the Borno State
capital, and in Bama, Banki, and Gwoza near the border with Cameroon.
These areas were hardest hit by Boko Haram. The state hosts
1,4 million refugees – the largest such population in the northeast.
More than 2 million are displaced across the region,
according to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), published in
United Nations Nigeria Resident and Humanitarian
Coordinator, Edward Kallon, said many men have lost their jobs because of the
conflict and felt stressed they could no longer provide for their families.
“These are some of the stresses present in camps and in this
context that make mental health and livelihood interventions so important,” Kallon
- CAJ News