Nigerians have called for more resources and literature that cover health and trauma management, arguing that trauma as a human experience is inevitable and consequently people must be adequately prepared to handle it.
Sharing their views on this during the launch of a book, Avalanche, a fiction story by Oreva Ode-Irri, panelists, including Jennifer Ugwu, a communications specialist and Jesse Dan-Yusuf, a religious leader shared experiences of how they had managed trauma and expressed urgency for the need for diverse resources for trauma management.
“It is inevitable and we must learn to deal with it,” says Jennifer Ugwu, an Abuja-based communications expert.
She adds: “To grief is valid.
“It may not be a loved one, it may be a loved one. We have to be prepared, it’s is going to happen.”
During a panel session to discuss the theme of the book, Jesse Dan-Yusuf, a Pastor at The Tribe Abuja, and Creative Officer at Fireworks Nigeria stated that the country needed more conversations and resources around grief and trauma, and that this book was a step in that direction.
“We need more resources on grief and drama and people suffering from mental health issues. Especially when the stories are told from the context of younger people. We tend to overlook people with mental health issues. More people need to write and give more resources on grief and trauma.
“A lot of people would have done better with managing grief if they had better resources.” He stated.
He further explained that faith played a critical role in managing grief and trauma.
The African culture provides “a good support system” for people grieving and know trauma, Eva Dan-Yusuf, a Pastor as well stated.
“We have uncles and aunties who are not our blood relations but we call them these. They give us support.”
Mrs Dan-Yusuf added that there was no one-way to handling grief.
“There isn’t one template for handling grief. Some want food, some want presence, some want quiet. Sometimes we are afraid to be there for people because we don’t know what to do. But my advise to us is that just let them know you are there for them.”
The author, Oreva Ode-Irri, an ANA Award Nominee, and author of Absolution, explained that she wrote the book out of the desire to tell an intense story on pain and trauma. She explained that during the Covid-19 pandemic she lost friends and grieved differently for each of them.
“This might be a fictional story, but it is based on real feelings.” She said, explaining why she wrote the book.
“This book was birthed predominantly out of desire. Desire to tell stories that weren’t readily told. Desire to give proper representation to pain and trauma. Desire to document what I was feeling and stories that had broken me. I wanted to tell a story everyone could relate to.” Mrs Ode-Irri added.
“I hope this book helps people heal. I hope it inspires people to open up about their pain and to explore their trauma. I hope that in reading this book, we as a society are more empathetic towards other people. That we learn to treat people better and cut them some slack. I want the book to transform minds and change lives one heart at a time.” She said.