Goethe-Institut Gears Up for Digital Conference on Art and Mental Health

Yinka Olatunbosun

Goethe-Institut Nigeria in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative and Art4Life has set up the project “Art and Soul” to create awareness on mental health and art therapy.

Using theatrical tools as well as critical discussions, the project aims to encourage debate surrounding suicide and mental health problems. The project comprises two parts; the first part features a collaboration with Nigerian theatre group Kininso Concepts, which has made a documentary play titled ‘Sniper’. Sniper will be screened in the next few months in a series of performances across universities in Lagos State as well as across neighboring states.

The first performance in this series was featured last Saturday at Alliance Francaise de Lagos/ Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi. The performance which was attended and highly praised by Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Honourable Commissioner for Health Lagos State; Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Health also saw the likes of acting German Consul-General, Mr. Alexander Ernst and the Swiss Consul-General, Mr. Thomas Schneider.

The second part of the project will include an international digital conference to be held on May 6 and 7 where German as well as Nigerian doctors and therapists can exchange ideas on issues surrounding mental well-being and suicide prevention.

The conference is designed primarily for German, Nigerian and international professional audience including physicians, psychologists, art therapists and other professionals working in this field alongside medical students drawn from various Nigerian universities. It will provide insights into current developments in the treatment of mental illness and the use of art therapies.

Among the German experts to speak at the conference are: Prof. Dr. Phil., Dr. Med. Andreas Heinz, Professor of Psychiatry, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, a joint institution of the Freie Universität Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Prof. Dr. Kathrin Seifert, certified art therapist at the University Hospital Bonn, Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and at the University for Arts in Social Life, Ottersberg Mrs. Maria D’Elias, who is an art therapist and President of the European Federation of Art Therapy. From Nigeria, the project will include amongst others, Prof. Akin Abayomi; the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, and Prof. Abiodun Adewuya, Provost Lagos State University, College of Medicine.

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