IN NIGERIA, WHERE MENTAL HEALTH IS CONSIDERED A 'WESTERN' ISSUE, PEOPLE ARE TURNING TO ONE ANOTHER FOR HELP.
For Hauwa Ojeifo, a 25-year-old investment banker turned life coach and mental health advocate, none of her symptoms mimicked these stereotypes. Ojeifo, who lives in the capital city of Lagos, recalls having constant mood swings as a child.
NIGERIA'S HAUWA OJEIFO WINS FIRST EVER MTV GENERATION CHANGE AWARD
The mental health activist was awarded at the 2018 MTV EMAs pre-show held at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, on Sunday in Bilbao, Spain. The newly introduced MTV EMA Generation Change Award was created to elevate and empower the fearless, original young people who are changing the world.
"MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE" - QUEEN ELIZABETH YOUNG LEADER
Hauwa Ojeifo's story is one of dogged determination to succeed against all odds. Mental illness of any kind, and the stigma that comes with it would be enouogh to make others fold and recoil into misery; but not Hauwa.
At the celebration, few of the guests looking on would have known that the joyous 26-year-old was lucky to be there – that just two years ago in Nigeria, her world was falling apart and she had tried to end her own life.
“I had a mental breakdown,” she recalls. “It led to a near suicide attempt.” Ojeifo was later diagnosed with bipolar and mild psychosis, symptoms of which she had experienced for ten years. She would go through extreme highs followed by extreme lows.