EAI Transforms Mental Health Support Across Nigerian States

Under the Securing Nigerian Communities (SNC) project, EAI has successfully trained 23 Trauma Counselors, with 11 of them being women. The objective is to bolster mental health services through 20 Listening Centers strategically established across Benue, Kaduna, Kano, and Plateau States. These centers, positioned in free community spaces, are designed for sustained impact beyond the project’s duration.

Among the skilled professionals contributing to this transformative effort is Mrs. Grace Yohana, a dedicated Trauma Counselor at the Salama Sexual Assaults Referral Center in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Reflecting on the profound influence of the training, Mrs. Yohana emphasizes its far-reaching impact on both her professional and personal life.

“We have intensified our awareness creation activity around trauma and stigma within the communities and ensure follow-up to achieve justice for victims and clients who visit the Listening Center. These acts [help break] the culture of silence and increase the number of clients who visit the Center,” she notes. The confidentiality provided at the center has become a crucial factor, encouraging more women to discuss issues related to domestic violence and sexual abuse.

On a personal level, Mrs. Yohana highlights the valuable skills acquired through the training. “On myself, I have learned to do self-care and work on my empathy before attending to any client. The strategy and pattern of approach [have] changed, influencing the number of clients that attend Salama Listening Center.”

The impact of EAI’s intervention is tangible, especially when considering the substantial increase in client patronage at the Salama Listening Center. Prior to the trauma and counseling training, the center averaged 2-4 clients per month. Since the implementation of the program, the number has surged, with the center now providing counseling services to up to 50 individuals monthly.

In alignment with the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in 2023, the Salama Sexual Assaults Referral Center is gearing up for an impactful awareness campaign. The campaign will involve collaboration with critical stakeholders and community members, emphasizing the collective commitment to eradicating GBV. As the world marks the 16 Days of Activism against Women and Girls, the center stands at the forefront, dedicated to creating lasting change in its community.