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Mental Illnesses in Africa

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Growing up in Nigeria, mental illness has always had such a massive taboo against it as the problem isn’t physical. However, I believe that the mind is just as important as the body and that both must be in good condition to live a full life. I have a strong drive to connect and assist others. I have a deep fascination in human behaviour which has only grown since the start of my A-level year. I have ambition to better understand how the mind works, so I can help individuals to lead better lives. My strong desire to help people is has caused me to lean in to psychology as a university course. My interests in child development and social issues is what prompted me to pick Psychology as an A-level subject achieving an A grade for the units studied so far.

During the year, I have found the psychology elements fascinating, especially attachment in children and psychopathology. Volunteering with children for the past year has opened me up to their interactions with one another as well as how they act around adults. From speaking to them about their lives and planning activities which best engage them, has made me confident and helped me find the passion to succeed and enjoy the demands this university course will present. My decision to study Psychology BSC (HONS) has been a relatively easy decision having looked in more depth at the course content. I particularly find the social learning approach intriguing and look forward to studying the works of several psychologists. My reading of the original research report of his Milgram’s research has only increased my enthusiasm. I’m excited to learn about sex and gender and why we have our social expectations.

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Most importantly, I have a special interest in child development and mental health in young people because being an adolescent involves a lot of pressure and I feel that their mental health at this time needs a special kind of support. Furthermore, I come from a law background-My mum a magistrate and my dad a lawyer- I find the law and criminal behaviour especially interesting. I would love to pursue a career in not only clinical but also forensic psychology. I am eager to learn more about what motivates criminal behaviour and if it is possible to determine if someone will be a criminal. I have watched several documentaries and read many articles to try and give myself some base view on the subject. The other A-level subjects I take, are Theatre Studies and English Literature. These two subjects have helped my analysis of concepts and my ability to write essays and evaluate studies effectively. Both subjects require me to delve deeply into the characters frame of mind and understand their motivation, similar to how we investigate the mind in psychology. In my spare time, I partake in lots of different dance events, especially street dance. This has taught me the many great qualities of dance and movement on the human Also, I am the manager of an arts magazine I run with 4 other friends called ‘Childish Zine’. This has brought me in contact with people from all walks of life and help me develop my researching skills and further my innate ability to communicate with others. I am a budding writer and have been published in a poetry anthology.

My current writing focus has introduced me to personality disorders and has lead me to research this complex condition further, reading work by Rachel Reiland: a real-life recoverer of borderline personality disorder. In this book she discusses the experience of someone with this disorder and how best to support them, which I found particularly enlightening. During my life, I have lived in several countries, experiencing such different and unique cultures myself. This has allowed me to meet and speak to lots of people and learn more about their live. From my experiences, I feel that I have learned a set of unique personal skills, such as compassion, open-mindedness, and an inquisitive mind. I have seen the challenges that mental illnesses have caused in people’s lives, despite their environment, and further motivating me to learn more about how the mind develops and integrates into the world around us.


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