Speaking to us today on Nikkyo’s blog is Susan Agbor.
Susan Ema Agbor is a marketing professional and mental health awareness and inclusion advocate. She is passionate about business development and making a difference in the mental health sector through social enterprise. She enjoys swimming, watching movies, listening to music, and being outside in nature. Susan Agbor talks about her postpartum mental health experience and the initiatives she is engaged in to support women dealing with similar experiences.
1. As stated in your introduction, you are a marketer. How did you become involved in mental health advocacy?
Mental health is a very critical part of human existence but is sadly ignored in this part of the world.
From my personal experience to my passion for giving back, mental health is just the answer to show, help, and encourage Nigerian society to take their mental health seriously.
2. Why mental health?
My experience after childbirth
I had three of the four postpartum mental illnesses, and I didn’t even know what I was going through at the time; I just knew I was in an invisible, unnamed pain and couldn’t help myself or explain what I was feeling.
When I started working as a volunteer for the Postpartum Support Network (PSN), years after it had happened, I finally realized what it was.
PSN is an NGO that provides pregnant women and new mothers with education and medical support.
My second reason is that nobody has to go through something they do not know or cannot name, and this happens in mental health because of inadequate awareness, low acceptance by society, and the stigma around mental health issues in Nigeria.
The Nigerian community cannot have too many centers of awareness for mental health; it’s too important to leave it be. We need to slowly and magically erase the bias and stigma surrounding the issue, and warm society into accepting that mental care is as important as physical care.
3: Before you experienced three out of these four issues, how much of a mental health person were you?
I always knew I would do charity; I like to think it’s my purpose.
But before my experience, I didn’t know what direction it would take, and even after that, I wasn’t sure until I started volunteering for PSN, at which point mental health grew on me, and I began to feel obligated. I began to genuinely care for people with mental health issues, and I also began to do what I could in my circle and surroundings.
4. How has the importance you place on mental health shaped you?
Hmmm … I never imagined putting words together about this.
This has taught me that anyone, including myself, can be vulnerable, and that the first step in dealing with people is to be kind.
People are going through so much mentally, even if they don’t say it. It’s just proper to always be kind.
5. What’s a typical day like for you?
Hmmm. I have a 9-5 and I work in advertising, marketing, and project management. That’s my background. I spend my evenings and weekends working on bringing my NGO to life. That’s all I can say about that for now.
6. You are the head of operations at your office. What does it feel like to be a leader, especially as a woman?
Leadership is a gift and an opportunity to serve. My team is mostly male, so it’s as challenging as it sounds. But it’s eye-opening and an opportunity to grow because you just need to keep things going while also proving your capability.
7. What are five tips you hold dear as a leader?
1. Be patient: don’t be hasty to react to things or draw conclusions.
2. Reward effort always
3. Take the fall for mistakes
4. Be accessible
5. Be caring.
8. What woman/women inspire you?
1. Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook and Author.
2. Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global and co-founder of Huffington post.
3. Fela Durotoye, Leadership Coach (I know he is not a woman, but yes).
9. What makes you a phenomenal woman?
I am a learner, a caregiver, and a giver.
10. What’s next for you in your mental health journey and helping others grow?
The following six months are critical. I am on a mission to establish an all-around mental health awareness outreach and fundraising NGO. This platform I am creating will give me the leverage to lead people on their mental health journey.
Nikkyosblog specially appreciates Susan Agbor for her time and for sharing a lot with us in this session.
You can follow her on Instagram @sue_agbor 💕
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