Timi Dakolo, Iyin Aboyeji, Adebola Williams, Adaora Mbelu, and Bolanle Olukanni were among the personalities present yesterday in Surulere, Lagos at the launch of the pilot location of The Joy Hub.
Initiated by Joy, Inc. in partnership with Mentally Aware Nigeria and Olamma Cares, the hub is a non-clinical, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory emotional and mental health walk-in centre where young people dealing with depression, trauma, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts can access help.
Speaking at the event, the founder of Joy Inc., Chude Jideonwo expressed excitement at the launch while stating that the vision is to build at least 20 more centres across West Africa by the end of 2020, with a hub set up in every community across the continent by 2035.
He explained that depression and anxiety have become a global public health crisis, and with Joy, Inc.’s research in partnership with NOI Polls revealing that 60 million Nigerians are at risk of depression, it has become urgent to marshal the public imagination and resources across Africa to tackle the issue and build more healing communities.
“Leveraging on the 353 million mobile phone subscribers on the continent, these mental and emotional health resource centres will be supported by an integrated tech platform and community. We will work with funders and investors across the world to achieve our ambitious but achievable goal of transforming Africa into a mental, emotional, and spiritual safe space,” Jideonwo added.
In his remarks, Dr. Kitan Jinadu, the representative of the Lagos State Mental Health Desk and Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Health, commended the team on the brilliant initiative, stating that such initiatives are needed to address the mental health epidemic.
Dr. Gbonjubola Abiri, a psychiatrist and member of Joy, Inc.’s Global Advisory Council said, “The Joy Hub is very important because young people need safe spaces where they can go to let out their emotions and speak to people that they feel are safe and can pour out their hearts to. The Joy Hub has come to stay for this purpose and the partnering organizations will work on ensuring that the work continues to progress.”
Led by the Ag. Chief Operating Officer of Joy, Inc., Damola Morenikeji, the guests were taken on a tour of the Hub, with workspaces for the partnering organizations, lounge, counseling rooms, meeting rooms, The Affirmation Wall and the ‘screaming room’ – for those who need space to let out their emotions (loudly).
The launch of the Hub was commemorated by the official opening of the helpline 0700-THE-JOY-HUB [0700-843-569-482], which people can call for necessary mental and emotional help or just someone to talk to.