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Group sensitises civil society, humanitarian workers on mental health, good deeds

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Good Deeds, a global movement of people dedicated to doing good, on Thursday, sensitised civil society organisations and humanitarian workers on mental health and self-care while providing humanitarian services.

The Focal Person of the group in Kaduna State, Mrs Itama Okhuelegbe, said at the event in Kaduna, that the exercise was to also appreciate civil society and humanitarian workers for their selfless service to humanity.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised in collaboration with Thinkers Children Foundation, as part of activities to mark the 2023 Good Deeds Day.

Okhuelegbe explained that the Good Deeds Day sought to promote people giving back to their community, thereby promoting harmonious relationships among people.

She said that since 2007, Good Deeds Day had been uniting people from around the world with the aim of spuring them to help others and do good for their communities.

“The act of charity and good deeds towards people in need, or communities in despair, is never forgotten by their recipients.

“Today, we are celebrating civil society organisations, individuals and groups rendering humanitarian services as first responders to people in need, putting smiles on people’s faces and keeping families together.

“We want to thank groups and individuals that have been rendering selfless help to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, marginalised, neglected, and exploited groups.

“We want more people to become ambassadors of doing good things to those in need in whatever way they can – feeding the hungry, providing shelter to the homeless, and clothing the poor, among other good deeds,” she said.

While acknowledging the good deeds of humanitarian service providers, Okhuelegbe, however, stressed the need for humanitarian and development workers to also care for themselves to avoid mental breakdown.

On his part, Mr Peter Ebeh, Senior Psychologist with Neem Foundation, Kaduna Office, described mental health as emotional, psychological and social wellbeing of people.

According to him, mental health affects how people think, feel, and behave.

“It particularly determines how people handle stress, anxiety, depression, and insecurity; how they relate to others and the kind of choices they make,” he said.

He pointed out that with too much demand on the humanitarian workers, they could encounter stress, which in the long run, would affect their mental health.

“People need to know that in the attempt to do good and extend a helping hand without taking care of themselves, they may end up in a dysfunctional mental state.

“There is, therefore, the need for people to balance their work with self-care, to be able to function normally and maintain stable mental health,” he said.

One of the participants, Mr Sunday Awulu, Secretary, Kaduna State Branch, Nigerian Red Cross, acknowledged the absence of a balance between humanitarian work in the field and the workers’ self-care.

Awulu identified psychological stress due to pressure to meet set targets as one of the major causes of mental breakdown among humanitarian workers.

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