IOM Opens New Child Therapy Room in Nigerian Neuropsychiatric Hospital
Nigeria - IOM inaugurated a new child and adolescent therapy room on September 15 at the neuropsychiatric hospital in northeastern city of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
The project, funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), is part of IOM’s psychosocial support services in the Boko Haram conflict-affected area.
In line with the government’s Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE), IOM refurbished the facility to support and encourage the use of play psychotherapies. It also provided toys, creative tools and psychological assessment tools to help the work of the child psychologists.
The facility comprises a family therapy room, two counselling rooms and a play therapy room. IOM and the neuropsychiatric hospital have been collaborating since 2014.
IOM Regional Director for West Africa Richard Danziger attended the inauguration. “IOM will continue to provide mental health and psychosocial support services for people affected by the insurgency in northeast Nigeria,” he said.
The crisis, which has created a wave of internal displacement, has impacted communities deeply at a psychosocial level. Many have been forced to flee their homes and live in camps with few opportunities. Others were traumatized by events including the kidnapping of girls by Boko Haram, the death of loved ones and widespread destruction.
IOM has put in place psychosocial mobile teams who are providing services to alleviate emotional distress and rebuild support mechanisms. They have identified individuals with severe mental health disorders and referred them to the hospital for treatment. They also follow up on patients and provide psycho-education to the families.
Monica Ishaya, a parent of one of the young patients at the hospital, said that she had struggled to find adequate treatment for her daughter, but was impressed by the outcome. “Before I could not even play with my child, but now I play with her all the time. She can now even attend school.”