FFF launches RIRE Project for People with Psycho social Disability in Lagos State

The Festus Fajemilo Foundation a non-profit organisation focused on disability awareness and inclusion launched the RIRE (Readdress Inclusion Rights and Empowerment) Project. The project which is being debuted in conjunction with Pan African Network for Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities (PANPPD), International Disability Alliance (IDA) with funding from Open Society Foundations (OSF) is centred on creating awareness about the plight of People with Psychosocial Disabilities (PSD) during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

The psychosocial trauma of COVID-19 is well documented with World Health Organisation (WHO) data showing a global surge in cases of substance use, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Despite a WHO study on impact of COVID-19 on mental, neurological and substance use services which shows a 67% disruption in access to counselling and psychotherapeutic services by people with mental health disorders, there is scant information about its impact on these vulnerable populations.

WHO study also shows that only 16% of Low-Middle Income Countries such as Nigeria, allocated funds towards Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS) during the pandemic.

The lack of information and funding during this period fed the non-inclusion of People with Psychosocial Disability (PPD) in the roll out of preventive measures carried out by national and sub-national governments. This gap leaves PPD vulnerable to becoming sick with COVID, while limiting their ability to participate in socio-economic activities that can help achieve economic independence and reduce psychological distress.

Who are PPD? They are people who live with Psycho  Social Disabilities (PSD) which usually arise from known mental health conditions such as anxiety and mood disorders. PSD can also occur in the absence of a mental health challenge but in people with chronic physical health conditions. The Psycho Social Disabilities cause people to:

  • Have difficulty interacting with other people socially
  • Have difficulty coping with everyday life stresses
  • Have difficulty concentrating on simple tasks
  • Have difficulty Completing tasks because of low energy levels
  • Have difficulty Multitasking: meaning they can only focus on one thing at a time.
  • Have difficulty Coping with activities that have deadlines as they will feel pressured.
  • Have difficulty understanding and handling helpful feedback from those around them.

The main challenge of PSD is that it leaves PPD vulnerable because of their psychosocial disabilities to such situations as Unemployment, poor health, Difficulty with relationships and Inadequate housing or homelessness.

The RIRE Project was created in with the objective of identifying and enumerating the challenges that PPD have experienced during the pandemic with the long-term goal of creating the foundations for a support and advocacy network for PPD in Lagos State.