Advocating Therapy for Trauma Victims

To tackle the scourge of trauma, which has become a global public health problem, a non-governmental organisation, Arogi TraumaCare Foundation, was recently launched, Mary Nnah writes

The essence of the foundation is to provide a platform for all relevant stakeholders to engage and proffer sustainable solutions to the problems surrounding trauma care and emergency response in our country.

More so, trauma is one of the leading causes of death globally and because it contributes extensively to the hundreds of deaths recorded every year in the nation it has become imperative to begin to find ways to address the menace that is fast becoming a public health burden in Nigeria.

Business guru and founder of Brands Optimal, Grey Cottage and Arogi Trauma Care Foundation, Otis Ojeikhoa said the Foundation opted for trauma care because they understand what a lot of people are going through, especially in traumatic situations and needs help. The reason why they created the awareness for a toll-free call, is for people to have access to care from a specialist as a way of saving lives.

“If you think toothache is painful wait until you are faced with traumatic situations. I was a victim of emotional trauma and I almost died after I  was traumatised. I was thinking about ending it all but was rescued by Dr. Rukayyah Abiola who gave me therapy. 

“Once you are in trauma, you need to seek professional help. The experiences I  had before the sessions with a specialist were extremely difficult.

“Persons in traumatic situation encounters physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. The person experiencing the distressing event may feel physically threatened or extremely frightened as a result.”

Ojeikhoa said in some cases, they may not know how to respond or may be in denial about the effect  The person will need support and time to recover from the traumatic event regaining emotional and mental stability.

“We have raised concern on the need to strengthen and improve the state of trauma care using emergency response services in the health care delivery system.

“Arogi is touching lives in immeasurable ways. In the last three months, we have over 781 people who have received one form of help or the other for their emotional and mental health experiences. It is amazing how many people are depressed, how many people are unhappy, how many people have not been able to heal from difficult emotional traumas.”

He explained that although people know that they are traumatised, they stay in denial because they believe that “somehow, someday, things will get better.

“Things getting better means that on your own, you have to be better. You have to heal, you have to recover, and know how to develop better coping mechanisms. Through qualified interventions, people can develop proper and positive coping mechanisms.

“Alcohol and drug use are some of the readily available and horrible coping mechanisms that people sadly resort to instead of reaching out for interventions. But we have been here, and now we have officially launched to offer these health interventions to people.”

 The maiden conference themed “Dealing with life’s emotional struggles” held the presence of renowned professor of psychology, Professor Andrew Zamani who addressed the conference on “Dealing with marital traumas; Award-winning radio broadcaster, Andrea Oduobi-Teke spoke on “Dealing with life’s emotional struggles”; whilst Consultant clinical psychologist, Dr. Charles Umeh highlighted “How to find happiness”.

Guest speakers at the event commended the team for “launching the trauma care at a time when Nigerians are saddled with depression, traumas, suicidal tendencies, and worry” among other things. 

According to the professionals, there are a lot of “hidden pains” masked behind smiles and laughter that people are yet to identify as depression and trauma.

Highlighting viral slang such as “we move”, “going through a lot”, and “easy, Jeje”, as some methods of escapism that the Nigerian social media community has adopted, Dr. Fred Nnadi said: “We won’t be lying if we state the obvious that Nigerians are going through a lot. And the foundation couldn’t have come at a better time. People need a place where they can go for therapy, in fact, free therapy, because finance is another constraint.”

“The whopping amount of alcohol consumed by Nigerians in the first half of 2022, a figure which sat at an alarming N599.11 billion, Nnadi said: “People need to be able to talk about their emotions, instead of drowning it in alcohol. Alcohol is not the way out. Nigerians have always had that “we move” capabilities, like we just move on from anything, and get up from anything. But you realize that people just subdue those emotions with entertainment and alcohol, instead of addressing the issue.”

Validating Nnadi’s position on the relationship between trauma, depression, and alcoholism, Professor Andrew Zamani said: “Trauma has been a very elusive mental situation in this country, and right now, I think we are taking the bull by the horn.  Research has it that most alcohol abusers are depressed, and alcoholism is a means by which people try to cope with their daily life challenges; albeit maladaptive.”

“And when people who abuse alcohol discover that they can bury their woes and escape the reality of their stresses, they tend to repeat and increase their indulgence. That eventually leads to depression because they soon realize that alcohol does not solve the problem.”

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