Teka Set to Drive Mental Health Crusade in African Countries


Ayodeji Ake
As an advocate of African women, Queen Misker Kassahun Teka from Ethiopia has revealed plans of kick-starting campaign on mental issues, educating women across at least five African countries (including Nigeria), on causes and prevention, as her prime project.

Queen Teka who emerged the winner of African Beauty Queen 2018, in an interaction with journalists recently in Lagos, said mental illness is one of the most common illness mostly caused by stressed and depression, adding that such health issue should be addressed by supply of adequate information on mental illness.

“One thing about mental illness is that you can’t really know you have it until someone sees you and notices. I also plan to have panel discussions and public lectures so that everyone can attend and know about it. I also plan to do a media campaign. October is actually mental illness month; I am hoping by the time I finish my project before October I can show my projects using the media.

“I will like to have rehabilitation centers in my country where people can come and get free treatment and recover from mental illnesses. I also want to become a successful business woman because I want to show women that you can be both beautiful and an entrepreneur, you can be a leader and just have that personality that women can look at me and say I want to be like her” she said.

Teka, a psychiatry student in one of Ethiopian universities, speaking on her interest on mental illness noted that her dream while growing up was to sanitise the public on mental illness.

She said: “The reason I choose mental health is because I have always been fascinated about human mind. Since I was a child I have been always reading about how minds work so growing up I discovered we lack a lot on that area especially in my country I see people with depression, people are committing suicide, people not being treated like humans so I think what I saw made me to work on mental illness”.

Revealing plans on African countries crusade on mental illness, she said she “plans to print a pocket size magazine of the common mental illness in my country like major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, autism, mental illnesses and others.

“I will like to take these common diseases in a very simple way and just distribute to everyone especially to universities and high schools so that at least these people can go and share with their parents.

“People don’t even consider depression as an illness, so I want people to know the signs and symptoms of at least the common diseases. I am trying to do a documentary showing how people leave this mental illness and how psychiatrists handle it and how we can spot mental illness”.