Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health can be regarded as a vital concern of individuals, communities and societies throughout the world. And in a world where not everyone can afford to pay a therapist/consellor, Mental health apps have been effective in making therapy more accessible, efficient, and portable. The apps can be helpful as a way to engage people who may be unwilling or unable to attend face-to-face therapy.
Truthshare, a mental health online application was launched in November 2019 by founders Kuro Briggs & Fortune Bekee. The application is improving the mental heath of Nigerians by leveraging the internet to provide a safe place where people can express themselves anonymously, get access to certified counsellors and feel better: thus curbing depression, mental illness and suicide.
We held an interview with one of Truthshare’s founder Mr. Fortune Bekee and here is what you would love to know;
- How successful is online therapy?
Online therapy is as successful as person to person offline therapy. It is conducted via phone call, email, chats, video call service like skype and zoom. It is the same thing really. As long as there is a good network connection for the video call it is as if you are in the same room and sharing. We have had all our referrals feel better using online therapy. It was especially necessary amidst the covid pandemic.
- What accomplishments have you made so far with people who confide in you about their mental health?
We have been able to process a staggering over 200 professional counselling requests in just last 2 months.
- How does your experience equip you to be a good mental health counselor?
When you expose yourself to more experiences in your field you become better at it gradually. I think that is what is happening with us here. We now know a lot more about mental health than we used to few months ago. Every day is a new challenge and a new story from a new client and it helps us understand better what we are doing.
- What are you and your teams professional backgrounds?
I have a professional background in Information Technology
My cofounder is an Accounting Major
We and the rest of the team are all trained volunteer counsellors.
- Are all counselors in your team licensed?
No, not all are licensed. Most of our volunteer counsellors are not licensed. But all our paying counsellors are licensed.
- What type of therapies have you been most successful using and why?
We have more than often used Psychoanalytic therapy. The results have been great because most of them just want a safe place where they can share with someone and that is what this type of therapy enables.
- Rating using a percentage, how bad are youths dealing with mental health in Nigeria?
I would say 40%. Because a good number of them are now gradually seeking for help, which I will say is progress. Unlike before now.
- What does it take for one to qualify being a counselor in your team?
It is very easy to be a counsellor with us. You can either come in as a volunteer counsellor or a paying counsellor. Volunteer counsellors do not need to have a practicing license or certification but must go through our listening course and fill our form online to be part of our team. Paying counsellors must be certified or trained with a license. Then you can visit our website and fill the form and you will be contacted after your information checks out.
- How best do you think the society can help people dealing with mental health issues?
There is a whole lot to be done in this mental health scene. I think interested parties should jump on it now and do whatever they can to help. We need more professionals in the scene. There should be more institutes that offer training in counselling and mental health.
- What in your opinion is the most important quality in a mental health therapist?
The ability to listen. If you can listen effectively and respond based on what you have listened appropriately you will easily open the onion. Opening the onion is a term we use to get to the bone of contention: the real issue. Until a client is able to dig deep into the real issue it will be tough for them to find that joy or happiness.
- What advice would you give people dealing with depression?
Talk to someone. A friend who listens or a professional counsellor. Do not let drug or alcohol abuse take the best of you, because this is how people turn into alcoholics and drug addicts because these substances only make you feel good for the time being and after it wares off you start feeling depressed again, and you continue drinking and before you know it, it is your daily routine and then a habit.
- For people with severe anxiety and panic attacks, what course of action do you advise someone to take?
They can talk to a professional counsellor. Visit truthshare.com.ng – get professional counsellor and select paid counselling and a professional will be allocated to you.
- If the Nigerian government was to intervene in helping people deal with mental health, how best do you think they can help?
Like mentioned earlier we need more training institutes and people need to see the incentive of going into professional counselling. I do not think a lot of awareness has been put into mental health in Nigeria.
- What is the challenging part of working as a mental health specialist?
Listening to some sad, depressing and even horrible things that some people have had to go through. It sometimes takes a toll on us but we have to be strong and professionals.
Your well being and mental health matters, maintain positive mental health by getting proffesional help. Confide freely on Truthshare.