(Joan Odafe, NAN)
An NGO, Anti-Suicide and Depression Squad (ASADS), says there has been an increase in the number of calls and chats received from people who need counselling and mental health support since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Mr Dare Asobele, Founder, ASADS, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
He said the NGO started the ‘ASADS Listeners’ project two years ago to help breach the gap for people who could not afford to pay for counselling or mental health therapy.
Asobele said the listeners were trained volunteers who offered free services in different areas including, emotional wellness and dealing with loss, general mental health wellness, family relationships and self-discovery.
He added that others were relationship and mental health, academics and self-esteem, child psychologists, addiction recovery and counselling for people with (LGBTQ) orientation.
According to him, the NGO noticed an increase in calls and chats received since the lockdown to curb the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began.
“There has been an increase since COVID-19 began. We have over 100 chats and 35 to 50 calls per week. Before, it was about 20 chats and 10 to 20 calls per week.
“We also keep note of clients and refer serious cases to the professionals working with us,” he said.
Asobele said the ASADS listeners had been able to help over 200 people in different areas, including suicide prevention.
He assured callers that the services provided by the NGO was confidential and none of the information would be shared publicly.
He urged callers to take advantage of the free services offered by contacting the counsellors through the organisation’s Twitter: @asadsei or Instagram: @asads.ei.