By Gabriel Olawale
In its bid to improve mental health and services for people with psychosocial disabilities, the Festus Fajemilo Foundation has launched an advocacy project to re-address inclusion rights and empowerment for people with psychosocial disabilities in society.
The project which was in collaboration with Pan Africa Network of Persons with Disability, PANPDD, and International Disability Alliance with support from Open Society Foundations aimed to achieve social change and inclusive policies.
Speaking in Lagos at the unveiling, Executive Director of Festus Fajemilo Foundation, Mr. Afolabi Fajemilo said that psychosocial disability was largely misunderstood in society and as a result, this vulnerable group of people has been negatively impacted.
Fajemilo who is the Lead for Project RIRE hinted that an individual with a psychosocial disability may have challenges with the way they think or interact with other people and as such likely to experience situations such as unemployment, poor health, difficulty with relationships, inadequate housing, or homeless.
He clarifies that psychosocial disability is an expression that is used to describe social disabilities that may arise, due to mental health issues, “it refers to the social consequences that arise when people with a mental health challenge interact with their social environment and social network.
“Festus Fajemilo Foundation today launched a project tagged; ‘Re-address Inclusion Rights & Empowerment, RIRE project’ for people with psychosocial disability. This project aimed to advocate for their inclusion in the government COVID-19 response program. We also seek collaboration from relevant government and cooperate organisation to achieve inclusion for people with psychosocial disability.”
Corroborating his views, Technical Lead for Project RIRE, Titi Tade added that people with psychosocial disability may find it difficult to interact with people socially and cope with everyday life stress, “they may find it difficult to concentrate on simple tasks or complete tasks because of low energy levels.
“They usually find it difficult to multitask, meaning they can only focus on one thing at a time. Coping with activities that have deadlines also makes them feel pressured.
“So anyone who has a mental health issue can have a psychosocial disability but not everyone with mental health challenges has a psychosocial disability. Some people may not have a mental health issue but have physical health conditions or disabilities that affect their mental well-being to a degree that their psychosocial functioning is affected.”
Tade however disclosed that people with psychosocial disabilities may require help to overcome the way they think, feel and interact with their social environment.
“The support can be in form of talk therapy, rest & relax, meditation, mindfulness, support groups, exercise, yoga, avoid illicit drug use among others.”