Based on studies among Nigerian school teachers and administrators, there has been reported general lack of awareness of mental health and related conditions that adversely affect school children and adolescents and their ability to learn.
A 2 day workshop for teachers of public and private secondary schools was put together and teachers were invited from 3 districts within Lagos Nigeria.
The goal of the workshop was to Increase awareness of child mental health conditions among Nigerian school teachers. To Create awareness about pathways to care for children and adolescents with identified challenges.
Other Objectives were to :
Discuss rationale for child mental health training for school teachers
Discuss rationale for school mental health programs
Describe conditions that affect children’s ability to learn including ADHD, pervasive developmental disorders, specific learning disabilities.
Describe conditions that affect children’s behavior in the school environment including oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder and bullying..
Discuss substance abuse in children and adolescents and the role of teachers in recognizing this condition.
Discus child abuse including cultural norms, recognition and reporting.
Equip teachers with basic questioning/interviewing skills to elicit warning signs.
Discuss available and existing facilities/resources in the community to improve mental health.
The workshop was run by the Mental Health INformation Network and Development Trust (MIND Trust) in collaboration with the College of Medicine University of Lagos and the Lagos state Ministry of Health.
Facilitators were a team of experts in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry and education drawn from both local and international institutions.
A total of 77 teachers attended on both days of the workshop and all participated actively. In addition a stakeholders meeting was held at the end of the workshop involving representatives from the state ministry of health, state ministry of education and local NGOgroups. Areas deliberated upon included challenges faced and plans on how best to integrate school mental health delivery into the public school systems.
The workshop is hoped to serve as a template upon which further trainings will be organized for key personnel in the educational system and continuous advocacy for governments commitment towards promoting mental health in schools in Lagos and in Nigeria as a whole.