Lotanna Anuforo

In so much as mental problems affect a significant portion (about 30%) of the Nigerian population, victims find it difficult to seek help. According to a WHO study, 30-80% of mental health victims don’t receive treatments. Therapy, one of the most effective ways to treat mental illnesses, is often frowned upon and does not come cheap.

Bueroomcare is changing this narrative, removing all the barriers to accessible and affordable therapy with just a tap on your smartphone. Although different initiatives have tried to raise awareness of the state of mental health in Nigeria, the tele-mental health app is raising the bar by providing an on-demand solution to mental health challenges.

The founder, Moses Aiyenuro, explained that he came up with the solution because he had realized that people only indeed thrive when they are happy. And, if happiness was a state of mind, it could only be experienced when people had a healthy mental balance.

In his 3rd year at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Moses had just seen his results and felt disappointed. In his words,

“I stopped seeing people, I was shrinking and felt helpless. I withdrew from people but at that time, I was in contact with someone I trusted, a trained coach who talked to me via WhatsApp. After talking with her, I felt good and thought, how could I replicate this? I did a survey with my contact list (over 100) and more than 80 had issues but couldn’t contact family and would really want to talk to a therapist but through an app. I did my research and found that this solution did not really exist in Nigeria or Africa at large. So, I told a few friends about the idea-  Ebun  now a co-founder and Joshua, Francis and Hameed, my friends who were Software Engineers and we started creating Blueroomcare.”

Mental health is an integral yet overlooked aspect of an average Nigerian’s priorities. According to a survey by EpiAFRIC and the African Polling Institute (API), Nigerians have a poor perception of mental health, with many respondents believing drug abuse, possession by evil spirits, heredity, and sickness of the mind to cause mental illness.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as the ability to think, learn and understand one’s emotions and the reactions of others. It is beyond the absence of a mental disorder. It is a state of balance, both within and with the environment, with physical, physiological, social, cultural, spiritual, and other interrelated factors combining to produce this balance.

In Nigeria, it is common knowledge that maintaining this balance is an upheaval task. Little wonder, one in eight Nigerians experience mental illness at least once in a lifetime, with depression and anxiety disorders being the most common issues.

Many people don’t seek help because of the stigma associated with mental problems. People wave off mental problems as a minor issue when the signs say otherwise. People associate mental health issues with craziness and spiritual attack. Also, sufferers think nothing is wrong with them, a situation known as anosognosia which has been noticed in over 50% of persons with schizophrenia.

Another problem with seeking help is the inability to pay for treatment. WHO reported that in low-income countries, the average annual mental health spending is around $0.25. Blueroomcare was designed to make therapy affordable, accessible, and convenient. The platform reduces the out-of-pocket payment by using insurance for therapy. The best part is  enrollees of RelianceHMO can now access online therapy on Blueroomcare using their healthcare plans. 

The app is available for download from the app store and play store for Ios and android devices, respectively. After downloading the app, users only have to answer a short series of questions, after which an AI algorithm matches them with a certified therapist to attend to them. Sessions can be held virtually via calls or texts and on the user’s demand. If a user does not like their assigned therapist, they can request a new therapist without hassles.

Blueroomcare raises awareness for mental health and provides real solutions to prevent breakdown and upsetting lives. It helps users find a balance between maintaining their schedule and taking care of their mental health with affordability and convenience accessible across every earning tier in Nigeria.

Lotanna Anuforo is a Content Strategist and Writer. He helps businesses and organizations grow by creating pleasant and consistent content experiences across all customer touchpoints.

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