MANI Virtual Conference 2018 - The Largest Virtual Mental Health Summit In Africa
Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) is Nigeria’s largest and most active mental health non-profit network that exists to provide the needed awareness and advocacy regarding mental health and illness.
At MANI, we help connect people seeking help with trusted mental health professionals, offer direct counseling via our suicide/distress hotlines and act as support to their family members and friends. We are therefore excited to announce a first-of-its-kind event, one that will have as much impact and even reach more numbers in our target population. The first and largest month-long, virtual mental health summit themed “Mental Health, Social Media and Technology,” that individuals can take part in in the comfort of their location, anywhere they are in the world.
The three major social media platforms for the online summit
In a bid to raise more awareness on how the state of an individual’s mental health affects his/her everyday activities, we are organizing a month-long online summit from 1-30 October 2018 on three major social media platforms with the hashtags #MANIVirtualCon18 and #MANIVC2018 for easier access and visibility. The line-up of activities we have for this month include:
- WhatsApp Messenger - One of these platforms is WhatsApp Messenger where we intend to organize five sessions across 50 groups of 100 participants each for every session
- Twitter - We will also hold 15 Twitter chats with influential guests who are individuals/professionals in mental health. Users and participants will get to ask questions anytime during the chats, and our guest/s will either answer them as they come or take on them after the chat
- Instagram - Instagram Live sessions that will be anchored by our volunteers
Themes and topics covered will range from:
- Policies and Mental Health
- Digital Technology and Mental Health
- Importance of data for Mental Health
- Local Media and Mental Health
The aim of the conference
This conference seeks to advocate for a cultural re-engineering. It espouses the need for Nigerians and Africans to recognize mental health as a realistic and legitimate concern, as well as display total commitment to the implementation of policies and practices that will ensure a supportive framework for everyone.
Mental health issues are the leading cause of disability in youths and adolescents in all the world's regions, contributing 45% of their overall burden of disease. Early intervention to prevent mental health disorders is crucial to suicide prevention and to improve lifelong wellbeing. Young people account for up to 85% of psychiatric cases in Nigeria, and indeed in Africa, and it's no secret that poor mental health can have debilitating effects on their wider health and development. This is associated with several health and social outcomes such as higher alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances use, adolescent pregnancy, school dropout and delinquent behaviors.
There is, therefore, growing consensus that healthy development during adolescence contributes to good mental health and can prevent mental health disorders. Fifty years ago, if you were told that people would rather seek help on something called "the internet" than going to the hospital, you would probably have not believed it. But from our interactions with young people over the years, we have found that they are more readily interested in seeking counsel and advice via the internet and social media rather than going to a hospital or to health workshops.
Unquestionably, mental health is fundamental to individual, organizational and national well-being. However, Nigeria and indeed Africa’s mental health statistics are a cause for concern. This is further aggravated by a culture of indifference, denial and evasion.
There is a need for a persistent discourse on this, especially within Africa; a need to make use of the available human resources to educate more and more people about the dangers of neglecting mental health. To do this the typical way - by organizing a five-day summit that brings together outstanding academics - would require even more financial capital than is available to put together. Hence the #MANIVirtualCon18 where individuals don’t have to travel to a venue and book for attendance, but rather can take part in the conference virtually, online in the comfort of their own home or office provided they have internet connection of course, anywhere they are in the world.
Joining the conference
Come meet over 100 Inspiring Speakers and Experts at this online event, as we touch on issues concerning mental health and general human wellbeing. Register on the MANI Virtual Conference website (https://vcon.mentallyaware.org/). Conference location is on Twitter, WhatsApp Messenger, and Instagram. For more information, you can access the virtual conference calendar on this link or email Victor Ugo at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the MANI Virtual Conference website.