Photograph by Bernard Iruobe Anakhu
Photograph by Bernard Iruobe Anakhu
Consider this idea ⇒ Make mental health your club service.  If they can do it, we can do it.
Out of the Shadows discusses the stigma of mental illness along with Rotary programs for prevention and earlier treatment (Rotary Magazine May 2021). It leads with the Action Group on Mental Health Initiatives and continues with clubs implementing its 'Wellness in a Box' toolkit to:
  • replace stigma with knowledge of prevention and treatment
  • communicate a protocol for referral
  • train existing school staff as counselors
Additional Rotary toolkits described include 'Don't Bottle it Up', the campaign founded by action group member Darren Hands. Go to the RESOURCES tab above to see the toolkits. You may view the full article in your print or online Rotary Magazine for May or through this link:
We all need to balance the weight of life's worries with coping skills and knowledge. We are each born with a unique biology, into a specific community with some natural skills in the way we respond to stressors.  It is important to recognize that everyone can improve coping skills to benefit relationships, achievement and mood.  We cannot read our children's minds so the action group toolkits provide the framework to help keep healthy kids healthy, to build their self-awareness and the words to get help if needed. Rotary can introduce them to congregation youth groups and to schools. They are a train-the-trainer model for anyone to implement / no expertise is required. Where needed, web based training is provided. These tools help us overcome tunnel vision and rumination, which Alexander Graham Bell described so well: “When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us”
The Rotary Magazine article focused on the achievements and not the many barriers.  The Rotarian photographed representing Nigeria in the article, Felix Kingsley-Obialo, was carjacked the same year he launched the project. In fact, simply commuting is a common barrier for most of the population. The people of Nigeria are resilient and innovative in the face of many stressors and are eager for new knowledge and other protective factors. For example, I saw the largest turnout I have seen in any country at a middle school hosting a parent workshop on depression awareness and prevention. Every Rotary community can follow their lead.
Wellness in a Box parent workshop