The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently hosted the 3rd annual Mental Health Awareness Conference in the Africa West Area. The event was held in two locations and was open to all community members. The first session was held on 28 October 2023 in Benin City Nigeria, and the second session on 4 November in Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire. The conference session in Abidjan was presented in French.
Over 1500 individuals attended the conference in Abidjan and Benin City. Both sessions of the conference were free to all attendees and available on-line. 3200 participants attended through Zoom.
Conference attendees heard from experts on mental health throughout West Africa. The theme of this year’s conference is “Depression- Prevention, Responding, and Supporting.” The objective of the conference was to help leaders gain an increased understanding of how to prevent depression as well as how to overcome and cope with depression. It also provided tools on how to support those that struggle with depression and provide leaders with information necessary to identify and access Family Services resources on depression.
The contributors and participants in the conference came with substantial expertise and a wide diversity of experience. They were focused on strengthening and supporting leaders to help them provide the necessary supports for the individuals and families that they serve.
“Mental health education is one of the best ways to increase awareness and encourage self-help seeking behaviour, while simultaneously reducing the stigma of mental health issues,” said Tamara Esi Dadson, Family Services Manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “It is important that we respond to the social and emotional needs of our communities’.”
The 2023 Mental Health Awareness Conference was presented by Family Services, part of the Welfare and Self Reliance program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The objective of the welfare and self-reliance program of the Church is to care for those in need while teaching principles that promote self-reliance and self-respect. Funding for the welfare program is provided by donations from Church members.