AHl Advises Teenagers To Break Silence Promote Positive Mental Health + PHOTOS }{ The Scoper Media 

 By Cleopatra Eki



     Dedicated to promoting Young people’s health and development. To ensure their successful transition to healthy and productive adulthood. Action Health Incorporated organises it’s 28th edition of The Teenage Festival of Life (TFL)
Mrs Nike Esiet, Co- founder and Executive Director Action Health Incorporated addressing over 2,000 students from different schools within Lagos and environs with a theme ‘ Mental Health: Adolescents and young people taking action at the Main Auditorium University of Lagos, Akoka.

“Mental health remains a pressing issue in Nigeria, with a significant portion of the population grappling with various mental health challenges. Beyond the impact on health and well-being, mental health challenges have also been associated with severe economic losses due to the high cost of treatment and impaired ability to work, especially among young people.”

She disclosed that this edition of Teenage Festival of Life, disclosed that young people participate in the festival as they see a rare opportunity to discover and explore their innate potentials under a very conducive setting.

According to her, Teenage Festival this year, gives young people from public secondary schools across Lagos State programmes to contribute to the conversation that seeks to raise awareness and discuss the importance of mental health.

They use artistic performances such as music, poetry and drama to increase awareness of the need to provide support, reduce stigma, and enhance access to mental health care services.

She added since its inception in 1993, the annual Teenage Festival of Life has carved a niche for itself as an opportunity for young people to display their talents, creativity and disseminate information on issues that concern them.

For over a dozen years, Action Health Incorporated has been dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of adolescence in Nigeria by increasing awareness, implementing public education and innovative healthcare programmes. It is an annual event initiated to provide young people the platform to display their talent, creativity, and disseminate information on issues that concerns them.

By informing public debate, raising a cadre of professionals, implementing innovative education and healthcare programmes.
Action Health Incorporated serves as an advocate and catalyst for change.
Dr. Uwemedimo Uko Esiet, Co-Founder/Director AHI, Public Health Physician/Development Entrepreneur said after COVID-19, Children, Adults and parents need help we all need collective efforts. He observed that young ones are so disconnected.
He pointed out that TFI is also an event that has provided an enabling forum where young people and relevant stakeholders meet to both identify the plights of the young people through artistic presentation with a view of enlisting them as critical stakeholder.

According to him, when he was young public schools were more optimized, life was not as challenging as today, he recalled there was massive support, he added that people now are more concerned about their nuclear families and less attentive to others.
He advocates for child’s rights , parents and child relationship, menstrual education for girls, children should be taught and know the various parts of their body and functions.

Esiet, added that children need educational life support skills and others to make them happy and becand better version of themselves.
TFL, as the festival is fondly called, is an annual celebration initiated by Action Health Incorporated as one of the ways of passing factual information to young people. TFL is an event that has helped foster relationships between adults and young people as most adults have attested to having realized the budding talents young people possess.
Funso Bukoye, Programme Coordinator in her speech titled Breaking the Silence: Empowering Minds to Promote Positive Mental Health said ” Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 (14%) 10-19 year-olds experience a mental health condition and in Nigeria, 1 in 6 young people, aged 15-24 are at risk of a mental issue with the most common issues being mood disorders (anxiety and depression), substance use disorder, and suicide.”

In January 2023, The Mental Health Bill 2021 was passed into law. The Act is a significant step forward for mental health in Nigeria as it seeks to promote and protect the lives of people suffering from mental illnesses and eradicate every form of stigmatization and discrimination among them.

Bukoye, added that in breaking the silence, there is a need to have conservations about the impact of mental health conditions, promote understanding, encourage help-seeking behavior, and create a more supportive and informed society.
In the DRAMA- Schools: Keke Senior High School, Ijaye with,Titles: BreakingChains of Silence
Girl’s Senior High School, Agege title Amina’s Story and Festac Senior Grammar School, Festac Town – title Distressed

As for MUSIC categories – SchoolsLagos State Senior Model College, Kankon Titles: Scary Ojiji, Odomola Senior Secondary, Epe- Take Me Out of My Mess and Mainland Senior High School, Fadeyi Mental Health.

As for POETRY categories Schools: Ijaye Housing Estate Senior Grammar School, Alakashi Salolo- Titles: When it Breaks.

Anthony Village Senior High School, Anthony- Fighting Depression
Oluwa Memorial Senior High School – My Brain Told Me
Special guests at this events include government officials from the Lagos State Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, as well as representatives of the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), the Tutor General/ Permanent Secretaries of all the Education Districts in Lagos State, and teachers and students of secondary schools in Lagos State.

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