From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

One hundred and eighty-three Nigerians from various states and fields of work across the country were awarded certificates on Wednesday after seven weeks of intensive training in Psych-Traumatic Healing by the Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK), Department of Psychology, in partnership with the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation.

NSUK Vice Chancellor Suleiman Muhammed said the programme trained individuals from different states and professions on how to provide counselling to people with different problems especially trauma.

According to the VC, who was represented by the Head, Department of Psychology, Dr Emmanuel Alhassan, Trauma is now very prevalent in Nigeria and more trained people are needed to provide support and care to sufferers.

‘Trauma could be from sexual and gender-based violence, from terror if you live in a community with terrorism, accident victims, victims of divorce and so on. There are different forms of trauma and this programme has really helped train individuals to provide care for victims and bring succour to the society,’ he said.

Also speaking, Executive Director, Lux Terra Foundation, Rev Fr George Elhusan said: ‘Today we have one hundred and eighty-three participants graduated in Psycho-Traumatic Healing from the Department of Clinical Psychology, Nasarawa State University. The grandaunts were trained extensively on practical learning for six weeks and one week on classroom learning.

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He disclosed that the shortage of Clinical Psychology practitioners is what inspired the foundation to initiate the programme.

‘It takes several years to train a psychologist and with the rapid increase in family dysfunction, divorce, unemployment, violence all over the country in the last few years, so many victims have been left extremely traumatised. This is also evident in the rising cases of drug abuse, especially in our young ones. We, therefore, decided to train those who are already doing the job. These include medical and paramedical personnel, social workers, Imams and Pastors, Red Cross Workers, security personnel and sundry Volunteers at camps for Internally Displaced Persons. They were taken through a weeklong intensive in-class training that was followed by six weeks of supervised counselling practice in their localities or places of work,’ the DG stated.

He said the training was supposed to equip participants with skills to provide support and succour to traumatised victims of various forms of violence in the country.

‘We live in a country where mental health awareness is very low. Until a disturbed person degenerates into a psychiatric case or a full-blown mental illness we often do not provide the needed care for victims in Nigeria,’ Fr Elhusan lamented.

Director Institute of Governance and Development Studies, Nasarawa State University, Andrew Zamani said there was a growing case of collective trauma in Nigeria especially in the North East and North West. He said the post-traumatic disorder had resulted in drug abuse, mental illnesses, criminality, suicidal behaviours and even suicide.

He said it was unfortunate how leaders paid lip service to the plight of victims of terrorism and other forms of violence in the nation rather than show empathy.