How Nerat-Dagwi Nyam used the Boo of the Booless Musicale to create awareness on PTSD

PTSD is a very serious problem that has adverse effects and implications on those who suffer from it. PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury. Unfortunately, as with other mental disorders and conditions, there is very little or no awareness for PTSD in Nigeria. Nerat-Dagwi Nyam, a student of Psychology and Mental Health Advocate identified this problem and took a creative step to address it with the Boo of the Booless Musicale. Sarauta Magazine’s Nenkinan Deshi had a chat with Nerat and here’s how it went.

Hey Nerat! Tell us about yourself?

I’m Nerat-Dagwi Davou Nyam, the second child and first girl of five children. A good number of my friends call me Mushu, a high school nickname that stuck. I’m a student of General and Applied Psychology at the University of Jos and I’m a volunteer for social impact.

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I’m Still mind blown about the Boo of the Booless Musicale. When did you first have the idea for the Boo of the Booless Musicale? And what sparked the idea?

The inspiration for the Musicale “Boo of the Booless”. Firstly, I’m a huge fan of Chike’s Music and after listening to the album over and over, I figured the songs are linked in some way and I got a story from it. A typical love story but beyond entertainment, I believe that as a student of Psychology I saw the story differently. I figured it was possible for the story to explain mental health.

What was your intended outcome?

When we started preparing for the musicale, we hoped that at the end of the show, the audience would understand the nature of a soldier’s job and know that soldiers could also have a happily ever after.

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How was the process and did you achieve your goals?

The process was tough, but refining. We did achieve our goal because beyond the audience being entertained, we taught them about PTSD.

You centred the play on PTSD. How serious of a problem is PTSD?

PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental illness that can happen to a person after experiencing a traumatic event. PTSD makes one feel anxious, uneasy, have sleeping disturbances and generally affects the daily functioning of the person. It is a serious issue because it can happen to anybody and if not properly treated, will have long-lasting and unpleasant effects. It is serious because some people are not even aware that the nature of the soldier’s job puts them at a greater risk of having PTSD and they are barely able to manage or treat it.

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What is the state of PTSD recognition In Nigeria and why do you think it is so?

Good question! I can’t exactly say the state of PTSD recognition in Nigeria because there’s no data to back it up. PTSD is kind of like part of a whole and that whole is Mental Health, which is general. Now according to the Mental Health in Nigeria Survey report of 2020, it is evident and sadly so, that the attention given to mental health is dissatisfactory. The level of awareness is not enough and because of this, misconceptions about it have gained ground and keep advancing. Several organisations have taken it upon themselves to create awareness for mental health, not just illnesses and have also been actively involved in formulating the Mental health bill.

What can we all do to advance PTSD and general mental health awareness in Nigeria?

Like I said earlier, a good number of organisations are committed to creating awareness. It’s up to individuals to join this moving train. When we are aware of what mental health is, then we can all be involved in advancing it.

What can the Government do to aid in PTSD and Mental Health Awareness and Care?

The government should be more intentional in including Mental Health in the Primary Healthcare Schemes and Programmes. There should be massive education and awareness creation for mental health at institutional and community levels. The Government should also partner with private organizations to create more awareness and attend more to mental health issues.

What future plans and ideas might you have?

Well, the main aim is to use entertainment as a tool to promote awareness for mental health and this can take the form of any type of entertainment as long as the message is clearly passed across.

This is how Nerat-Dagwi Davou Nyam used the wonderful Boo of the Booless Musicale to raise awareness for mental health. The importance of mental health matters become more serious by the day and I think we should all do our part to raise awareness. It might be crazy and creative as the Boo of The Booless Musicale and it can be as simple as talking to a friend about mental health. Talk Mental Health and protect your mental health. Thank you for reading.

Last modified: May 21, 2021

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