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STORIES: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility

Community Feature: Toks Bakare & A Beautiful Mind

Community Feature: Toks Bakare & A Beautiful Mind
January 21, 2016 n'dada vaz

As we count down to #SMWLagos 2016 we thought it would be cool to help you get to know some of our amazing event partners a little bit better!

MEET TOKS

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Toks (center) with volunteers and participants after her 2015 SMW event

Toks Bakare, Founder of asktoks.com, and a UK-trained Bahaviour Analyst is back as a SMW Lagos community event partner for a second year in a row. Last year Toks hosted a well received masterclass titled Creating a World That Understands Autism With Your Smartphone. This year Toks takes our 2016 theme “The Networked African: Technology’s Impact on Africa (and How We Can Harness it for Good)” to a whole new level with a masterclass that explores the stigma around mental health in Africa and how social media can help challenge perceptions.

Toks who moved back to Nigeria in 2014, says:

We are super excited about this masterclass because for the first time in Social Media Week Lagos history we are plunging into the worlds of science and religion and bringing two historically juxtaposed paradigms together on the topic of mental health. Traditionally, Social Media Week involves the sharing of ideas of how social media and technology are changing our businesses, society and culture. However, we want to look at how they are changing us as individuals.

Social Media For Social Good

Over 64 million Nigerians suffer from some form of mental illness. In a world increasingly infiltrated with increased levels of negative stress, images of war, terror, death and destruction, it’s important to think about how the mind processes information and how mental health can be affected by external factors. It is also important to debunk the many prejudices and misconceptions that surround mental illness and mental healthcare in Nigeria. During a recent Webinar on mental health in Nigeria, hosted by the Public Health Foundation of Nigeria, Prof. Oye Gureje, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, Neuroscience, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, University of Ibadan, pointed out that “40% of Nigerians believe mental illness is due to supernatural causes, possession by evil spirits and punishment by God. 30% believe in religio-magical cure for mental illness.” A 2006 study on the mental health system in Nigeria reported that “There is considerable neglect of mental health issues in the country.

So how can social media help?

A Beautiful Mind – Opening up about Mental Health  co-produced by asktoks.com and Nigeria Health Watch – a leading watch dog advocacy group that uses new media to influence health policy and access to healthcare in Nigeria-  will explore how perceptions of mental illness can be changed to lead to a healthier Nigeria. The Masterclass will also include tips on how to use social media and other digital tools to research for valuable help and resources about mental health online.

When she’s not dreaming up awesome SMW Lagos event ideas, Toks consults with Nigerian organisations in Lagos and Abuja  to bring Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) treatment services to the health sector.

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To learn more about Toks, A Beautiful Mind – Opening up about Mental Health and it’s scheduled speakers visit the schedule and register!

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