Conversations on Mental Health


” Anything  that’s human is mentionable and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.” —- Fred Rogers

 Adolescence is a crucial period in the life of a person, this is the period where you develop and  maintain certain habits. A time for youth to have a healthy start in life, a period where you are ‘in your feelings’ constantly .


Poor mental health can impact many areas of one’s life. Youth with poor mental health can struggle with school, jobs,  their health and relationships with  others. Poor mental health also goes hand in hand with behavioural problems and physical health issues such as drug abuse, violence, STDs, unwanted  pregnancies and so on.

RED FLAGS TO WATCH OUT FOR                

  • Excessive sleeping beyond usual fatigue, this might be a sign of depression, drug abuse. Insomnia and other sleep disorders might also be symptom of depression
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Loss of self esteem
  • Dramatic decline in academic performance
  • Loss of appetite and excessive eating
  • Paranoia
  • Mention of self hurting or suicide
  • Excessive isolation and so on


  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Drug Abuse

” My family never put any kind of pressure on me. Any pressures I had were self inflicted. Mentally I’m fine, stable. Never went through depression” –Anonymous

” I wish I had an outlet, too much self inflicted and third party pressure. I want to scream sometimes but I’m too ”proper” to actually do it. I’m scared I will explode soon” –Tosin

Adolescents move through different transitions, physically, emotionally, hormonal, intellectually, sexually and socially.  Pressure can become overwhelming and eventually lead to a major disaster.  Hence the need to ease off on the pressure as parents, siblings and friends, do not talk ill about people or use derogatory  terms in the name of teasing.  Having healthy and honest conversations go a long way in discovering truths about a person’s mental state.

Mental health awareness isn’t just important, it is a necessity. Subscribe to our newsletters for more information about mental health.


Conversations on Mental Health is hosted by the Mariacutty Youth Center, Kaduna. The event is organised to create awareness on mental health among young people. This will be the first such meeting in a series of 5. It will include discussions with health professionals, religious leaders and youth advocates.


Dr. Aishatu Yusha’u Armiya’u – Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Aishatu Yusha’u Armiya’u is a consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Head of Forensic Psychiatry Unit of Jos University Teaching Hospital. She is the Consultant Psychiatrist in charge of the Prison clinic at the Jos Maximum Security Prison.
She has contributed to a number of committees, including the constitutional review committee of the Association of Psychiatrist in Nigeria. She has some fifty published papers in peer reviewed journals.


Zainab Bello – Drug Addiction Advocate

Zainab Bello is an expert in human resource management. She recounts meet “Hadiza Aliko Mohammed, the founder of the House of Recovery, played a very significant role in making me develop the interest in fashioning out ways of combating drugs/substance abuse in northern Nigeria and the country at large by way of training, counselling and collaborating with necessary agencies and partners.”

Zainab attended Bayero University Kano where she obtained a diploma in public administration and later proceeded to the Hertfordshire International College of Business and Technology (HIBT) UK where she gained another diploma in business before proceeding to the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom where she bagged a Joint Honours degree in Human Resource Management and Tourism.

Malam Muhammad Bello Auwal – Imam

Mallam Muhammed Bello is an Islamic Scholar who has served as a teacher and counselor in both conventional and Islamic schools at various levels in Harakatu falahil Islam between 1999 till date. Having gained experience, in 2012, he was saddled with the responsibility of heading the five schools of Tarbiyya Group of Schools as Director to present. In the same year he was ordained an Imam of Barnawa Low-Cost, Juma’at Mosque and a member of Kaduna State Council of Imams. He holds several positions and Mallam is a happy family man with five children.

Mrs. Fatima Hamza Mai-Bornu – Education Advocate

Fatima is a grateful mother of four and a Jigawian through and through. Her passion for educating young minds revealed an inner strength she didn’t know was latent. She leads and teaches a group of exceptional teachers that nurtures the spirit and intellect of children. She appreciates good landscaping, enjoys volunteer work and loves to read motivational books. She expresses her thoughts about life and her love for humanity through writing. She is fascinated by ‘Love’. She believes the epitome of love is that between man and the creator. In time to come she would like to be remembered as one whom has had a huge impact.

Mrs. Comfort Bangojin – Counselor

Comfort Bangoji is a Teacher, a Counselor and a Social Worker working with dysfunctional homes and rehabilitation programs for the delinquent, abandoned and persons with special needs. She the founder of Life in Christ Gospel Mission international; a faith-based NGO committed to empowering the lives of widows and Ripples, an NGO which is focused on mentoring and equipping young mothers and girls
Mrs. Comfort trained as a Social Worker, DIP and ADHSSM in 1979 and 1972 respectively. She further trained in PCC and Pre-Marriage counseling at the International Theological Seminary, Ghana.
She has authored a number of books with the latest; History of Social Work in Northern Nigeria.

Pastor Prosper Nwanjiobi

Pastor Prosper convenes a Christian youth outreach fellowship called “youth alive for Christ” with the aim of raising a generation of young Christians. He also organises outreach programs for youth struggling with drugs addiction and other youth vices.

Naila Foundation

Naila Foundation is a non profit organization that focuses on maternal health and the psychological impact of pregnancy and infant loss. 


Dr. Aishatu Yusha’u Armiya’u

Is addiction a gateway to mental disorder? What is the relationship between addiction and depression?

Often certain drugs can create problems that trigger mental health symptoms. In other cases, substances can create mental health symptoms like paranoia, delusion or depression while the person is under the influence of the drug. When these symptoms last after the drug wears off, then it can indicate a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Depression is a common effect of certain drugs like crystal meth and alcohol as they begin to wear off, and it’s a symptom that can deepen into a disorder over time. On the other hand, the most common issue connecting mental illness and addiction is the interaction of patients to medicate the mental health symptom that they find disruptive or uncomfortable by using alcohol and drugs. This includes the depressed patient who uses marijuana to numb his/her pain.

What is the first step to avoid addiction and can you avoid addiction personally?

The first step to avoid addiction is NOT TO START. You can avoid addiction personally if you don’t start it at the first instances.

Zainab Bello

Most of our students have the psychology that whenever they smoke marijuana in the morning before going to class, whatever they teach them stays in their brain permanently, is it true?

 According to some studies, the use of marijuana improves memory retention. However, the overwhelming evidence is that the longer the use of marijuana, the more deterioration of cognitive abilities, especially in the ability to learn and remember new information.

Is the rehab center the last bus stop for a user (drug) or self control or self rehab?

There are many treatment options that have been successful in treating drug addiction and rehabilitation centres are one of them. Rehab centres are highly recommended because of the medical supervision and a way of weaning addicts of drugs. However addiction treatment depends on the severity of addiction, willingness from addicts or user psychological health and risk issues. Although, no single treatment is right for everyone.

I have a friend who is so informed and intelligent. He sees the use of Indian hemp as a way to gain courage when he wants to take major steps or attend interviews. He listens to me and I look up to him since he is more informed than me. What exactly can I say or do to save him from going down the drain?

Your friend seem to have low self-esteem, so you can help by seeking professional help .e.g. Counsellors. A certified counsellor can help to identify the reason for the low self-esteem as well as giving other options that will help boost confidence, rather than using marijuana which will in the long run deteriorates your friend’s mental health.

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