Chude Jideonwo sat with the team at OkayAfrica to discuss how to cope during the Coronavirus crisis.
Never in our lifetimes have we experienced a pandemic of this gravity. As COVID-19 cases rise in Nigeria, Nigerians aren’t just worried about getting the virus, they are also concerned about a host of other challenges: our lack of efficient and effective healthcare—which is overwhelmed even without a pandemic—the lack of appropriate data, and the high levels of poverty and illiteracy in the country that make it difficult to enforce the strategies that will enable us to handle the pandemic and keep it under control.
In a bid to understand how Nigerians are dealing with mental health challenges now, on the ground, due to the pandemic—which has led to a lockdown restricting movement and also social distancing rules—we spoke with Nigerian journalist, lawyer and mental healthcare advocate Chude Jideonwo, who is the founder of Joy Inc. He shared insights from his experiences with The Joy Inc., which he founded in 2016 to help young people going through mental and emotional challenges. He aimed to help provide young Nigerians with tools to help navigate the world around them.
Humans, by our very nature, are social animals—and Nigerians are top on the list of being social, holding parties, owambes and events such as religious gatherings are the norm and are often used as a means to unwind. But given the current reality, these events can no longer happen. Considering that physical and social connections play a major role in mental wellbeing, it’s necessary to explore effective methods of coping with the changes brought on by the pandemic.
We spoke with Jideonwo about what can be done to help Nigerians cope. He shared valuable resources and practical self-help tips that can be useful in these difficult times. Read our conversation below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Click here to read the interview.