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MA Mental Health Counseling, Nigerian

July 30, 2016


I am writing on behalf of my application to earn the Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling at XXXX because I see your program as the optimal institution in the world to help me learn to make my optimal contribution to the practice of Mental Health Counseling in my country, Nigeria. I feel comfortable at your historically black institution, and confident that your distinguished faculty, with a special interest in black issues, will guide me in the right directions so as to make sustainable intellectual progress through sharpened intra- and intercultural sensitivities. I hope to contribute to our discussions as someone who is also a medical doctor, underscoring the importance role of physiological factors in most mental health illnesses, especially in a developing country such as Nigeria with widespread, abject poverty, and high levels of civil unrest and violence.

Nigeria faces enormous economic, political, and social challenges that are complicated by both poverty and violence, threatening a downward spiral into social chaos, with human rights abuses rising dramatically primarily as a result of the Boko Harem insurgency and a brutal state response, especially in the countryside, most particularly broad swaths of the north. Since the insurgency’s principal weapons of choice is planting bombs in marketplaces, however, this most indiscriminate form of terrorist violence in now beginning to claim victims in almost every corner of the country, speaking to the way in which we need new mental health care initiatives at the national level, especially for victims of terrorist violence, most particularly, the children.

I like to think of myself as a feeling and compassionate young woman who happens to be a doctor as well. Still only 29, I have the maturity that comes with struggle and the hope that comes with compassion. Deeply touched and moved by the enormous suffering in my country that occurs as a result of little-to-no access to mental health counseling. I feel strongly that much of the psychological suffering of Nigerians could be at least mitigated to the extent to which adequate mental health counseling support services were to be made available. It is also my opinion that the presence of adequate mental health counseling services would radically raise the standards of living of most Nigerians, especially those who are members of underserved communities.

During my training in medical school, I was exposed to a lot of mental health related problems and I also did a mental health posting which further exposed me to many of the challenges confronted by mental health professional in Nigeria. After graduation and working as a physician, I also came into contact with a lot of patients who had mental health issues, many of them chronic. In fact, it is most of all my patients who have inspired and motivated me to pursue graduate study in the area of mental health counseling. Thus this has greatly influenced my interest to study masters in clinical mental health counseling as i really want to improve the health care services in both my country and worldwide most especially in the area of mental health. I hope to build a lifelong specialization in several areas in particular, bipolar disorders, mania, anxiety, and depression, especially among women and particularly those that have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence. I personally attended to many women and girls who had been raped, since the number of rape victims in Nigeria is already staggering and now rapidly growing as political violence spreads. There are more and more victims of indiscriminant bomb blast victims that result in amputations of one or more limbs. Schizophrenia was widespread even in the absence of the violence which it exacerbates, drug addiction, bulimia nervosa in young girls, psychosis, etc., among child as well as adult victims.

I look forward to a lifetime of organizing advocacy programs, interactive sessions and educative forums which will target the underserved for therapeutic as well as preventive measures. I intend to at least manage if not create one or more non-governmental organizations for this purpose.  I seek to raise awareness concerning risk factors involved for various mental health related issues such as substance abuse, and better educated young people about the adverse and hazardous effects of drug abuse, as well as providing sex education to boys as well as girls. The NGO that I have in mind would begin working with children as elementary students and progress through high school. I hope to engage the state as well as the federal government bureaucracy and make it work to the extent to which this is possible in Nigeria, in a never-ending search for creative ways to move our governments in progressive directions. I also look forward to working closely with UNICEF and the International Labor Organization ILO. I also want to work to increase asses to libraries, equipping them with mental health resources. Serving as a group leader of research projects throughout my medical training has helped me to cultivate my leadership skills which I will continue to do as a student in your program since we are in desperate need in Nigeria of leaders in this field.

The bomb blasts now going off in Nigeria with increasing frequency leave entire families in a state of confusion with lasting consequences for the community. I personally treated a girl who lost her entire family at once in a bomb blast at one of the markets in a northern state of Nigeria. She started having symptoms of bipolar disorder and I made a diagnosis of neurotic depression admitted her, and did what little I could. I look forward to studying trauma and the psychological problems that it generates, even for those who are not physically injured themselves but only exposed to or caught up in the violence.

These days, most unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Nigerian families find themselves caught up in crises generated by the cross-fire between the Boko Harem terrorists on one side and the extrajudicial execution of detainees by the military on the other, with people left terrified by both sides. Fear of the unknown has also resulted in millions of internal refugees, especially from the northern states of Nigeria. Many homes are destroyed in the conflict, adding homelessness to the burden of terror.

I have always had a special fondness for and interest in children, the future of tomorrow. Most cases of violence end up affecting them directly or indirectly. Orphans, rape victims, ex-combatants, those infected with AIDS, the indigent, especially the girls, I seek to help them all in one way or another. They confront challenges that will always be with them, with us all, as a society and as humanity as we pull together to help those who have the greatest need. I thank you for considering my application.

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