In Pursuit of Kindness

May 04, 2023

Oluwaferanmi Omitoyin is the Youth Vice President of the International Association for Youth Mental Health (IAYMH). His responsibilities include working with the Executive Committee to steer the vision of the organization, strategize and plan the association’s conference and engage young people all over the world on subject matters pertinent to mental and/or public health.

Oluwaferanmi was a founding member of The Panacea Project and has volunteered for numerous community health awareness outreaches. He recognized his passion for advocacy as he strongly believes prevention is a better solution than cure. He also been involved in social media campaigns promoting health awareness including mental health.

He is a Nigerian and a medical doctor which interests in Public Health.

This story took place in Nigeria

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Growing up, we were taught a great deal about taking care of our health. Emphasis was especially placed on physical health. From a young age, we were taught the importance of hygiene, exercise, nutrition, etc. Learning about these things was absolutely important and helpful; however, one aspect of health that was never really emphasized was mental health.

In recent times, thanks to the efforts of various organizations such as Born This Way Foundation, the level of awareness of mental health has exponentially grown and people are able to learn about taking care of their mental health while ensuring they are mindful of how they affect the mental health of others around them.

Being aware is the first step we can all take in building a kinder and braver world. When individuals are aware and conscious of the fact that their actions or inactions can infringe on the happiness of others, there can be a level of caution and sensitivity by which matters are

For example, a group of friends who are sensitive realize that one of their friends has suddenly developed a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities with low mood and energy.  They give their friend adequate space but still, they encourage him and stand by him through all he is going through. Gradually the friend begins to open up about certain sad events that happened in his family. The friends are able to provide emotional support and care for their friend. An alternate circumstance could have ensued if the friends were not aware and sensitive. They could have either ignored the friend and not probed further to find out what happened to him or they could have picked on him and teased him about his sudden change in behavior.

Exposing people to mental health education from a young age can help shape their perspectives about mental health and help them grow up to be kind individuals who are aware and able to understand the impact of their actions on the happiness of others. They’re also able to become mental health champions amongst their peers.

We are responsible for our actions, and we should exercise caution to ensure that we don’t hurt people with our words and actions. We should try to put others into consideration and treat them with love.

I learned a lot taking the #BeThere course. I learned how to take note of subtle signs that could indicate that a person is going through a mental health challenge and how to offer help and/or support. I encourage you to take the course. In addition, you can peruse Born This Way Foundation’s website and channel kindness to learn more about taking positive actions to support kindness and mental health.

I challenge you to surprise someone with an act of unexpected kindness!

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