By Omolara Akintoye
For many people, the new normal occasioned by the pandemic has been very challenging impacting negatively on mental health. In the midst of it, many are heartbroken and depressed while very few have refused to give up.
There is a need for people to develop new approaches to staying healthy, safe, and productive and maintain mental resilience during the pandemic and beyond.
These, among others, were issues discussed at the 141st reunion 2020 of Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, Old Girls’ Association (MGHSOGA) virtual meeting tagged “A time like this” and had over 230 women in attendance globally.
The guest speaker, Professor Andrew Zamani, a clinical psychologist and immediate past president of, Nigerian Psychological Association, pointed out many people are vulnerable to mental breakdowns in the new normal.
The lecturer at Nasarawa State University lamented most families have lost their social control powers to the internet over immorality with most graduates unemployable.
“The meeting provides an opportunity to reflect on values that is best. As torchbearers, I urge you to raise your candlesticks high, to deliver hope for the hopeless and continue to render selfless service to the deprived. As parents, we also need to re-examine our child-rearing and management practices,” Zamani said.
President MGHSOGA Major General Tilewa Amusu (Rtd.) pointed out the topics were carefully chosen given the experience people have gone through in the past seven months with the pandemic, #ENDSARS protest and the aftermaths.
“We are still committed to continuing with our school building project; supporting the school to continue its mandate of raising women to contribute positively to the society as well as fostering an inclusive sisterhood among old girls,” she said.
Amusu reiterated the association’s commitment towards the wholesome development of students and teachers, thereby adding value to their lives.
Principal Partner African Capital Alliance, Mrs. Kikelome Longe, who spoke on “financial strategies for times like this,” identified key things people must do to survive financially.
She mentioned taking responsibility, avoiding the blame game, cutting down on expenses, maintaining self-control, developing basic financial literacy skills, and considering multiple streams of income as necessary for financial survival.
Creative Director and founder, Courage Event Enterprise, Mrs. Adeola Falomo, who spoke on ‘entrepreneurship’ said despite the challenges which came with the pandemic, opportunities also abound disguised as challenges.
According to her: “Know that everything you need to move forward is within your reach, now is the time to start, age is no barrier. Build a vision, develop your brand, let excellence and integrity be your watchword, and be innovative.”
Mental health, according to Executive Director, The Nous (Mind) Organisation, Lade Olugbemi, is key because there is no physical health without mental health.
Speaking on “A time like this: Looking after you,” Olugbemi charged participants to think about their mental health at this time and maintain a healthy work-life balance. She also mentioned holding on to one’s values, staying connected with positive people, and being positive as necessary to survive the times.
Coping with a time like this from the spiritual angle, is necessary, according to Bamidele Kuku. She enjoined all to speak up when the need arises and be quiet when necessary. “Let God be your anchor so that you can be able to impact moral values”, she said.
Former chairperson Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Lagos Chapter and Executive Director, Head High International, Pastor (Mrs.) Tinu Odugbemi, challenged participants to make the best of the challenging times.
“Reality wears a new face, social relations has a new meaning, the pandemic which was last experienced 100 years ago has brought with it an economic squeeze and political consequences, no aspect of life is spared, but there are also certain gains made with the pandemic,” she stated.