Sangu Delle is known for his many accomplishments as an entrepreneur, author, clean water activist and more – and he recently gave a powerful speech about mental health and the stigma associated with it in African countries.
Delle outlines his own personal experiences with mental health, as well as those of his close friend who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and ostracized by his friends and community at large. He talks about how he, along with others, feel suffocated by the "rigid architecture of African masculinity." He speaks of the lack of resources most African countries put towards mental health, and the lack of access to mental health professionals. As an example, he cites that in Nigeria there exists an estimated 200 mental health professionals for a population of almost 200 million people. He also emphasizes that the ignorance surrounding mental health is vast, as many people believe it comes as a consequence of unrelated things such as drugs, witchcraft and Divine Will. This is without knowledge of the actual underlying reasons behind why people suffer from mental health – reasons which can include grief, conflict, war, genetics and low socioeconomic status.
In his speech about mental health, Delle seeks to help rid people of the stigma that is so often attached to diseases of the mind, and emphasizes that "our mental struggle does not detract our virility, nor does our trauma taint our strength."
Mental Health Stigma in African Cultures
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