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I established grief recovery hub after losing loved ones — Bashirat

The death of Bashirat Abdulwahab’s mother when she was little had a toll on her wellbeing but as time passed, she weaned herself from the…

The death of Bashirat Abdulwahab’s mother when she was little had a toll on her wellbeing but as time passed, she weaned herself from the grief of not having a mother to chitchat and confide her daily trajectory in life to. With the world ephemeral to the billions that occupy it, death further took away her father and spouse. This many deaths that occurred without announcement of ways to deal with the loss opened an opportunity she felt would enable her to be at service to those who go through her experience.

A graduate of Mass communication from the Bayero University Kano and an MSc holder in the field, Bashirat grieved the loss of family members without the help in dealing with the situation.

Years after she recovered from the trauma, an innate urge to provide support and counselling to those facing the same period of heartbreak from losing those they are attached to spurred the need to establish a community to cater for it.

Losing my loved ones, my mum at a very young age, my father, my spouse and so many other loved people in a very short period of time left me traumatised and depressed for a period before I was able to get over it.

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“I realised there is a vacuum to be filled and people do not know where to turn to when they face this kind of life experience. I decided to do something about it in my writing, teachings and learn how I can also help other people facing the same situation.”

This made her become a grief recovery therapist, humanitarian, an author, life coach and corporate trainer.

While she never nursed the idea of counselling before she graduated from the university, she noted that her passion to help people in her younger days might have been a propeller that transformed her life into what she does in helping grieving families.

“I love to help people and most of the work I do revolves around helping people who are in distress; helping people who are bereaved and those who can’t afford daily needs.”

What she does now is basically, “Is health practitioner who is helping people in grief or those who have some mental health challenges or struggling to navigate some life challenges.

Doing that over the years, she became exposed to the thought of creating a community dedicated to the cause.

“Everyone I meet who is going through a similar experience is sad that there is no community or place they can go to be seen, heard and safe to talk about their grief and experiences.

“So, I feel it was a good idea to start a hub, where people can come to share their grief story and experiences, where they can get support, access to services like grief therapy, counselling and all sorts of things.

“This is somewhere we can train people how they can be supportive to family members in grief. We want to be able to create that awareness about grief because it is a real thing and it affects everyone.”

The passion she exerted in creating the community, which is in Kano, attracted various people who now see themselves as one.

With the community getting to over 5 years, she decided to formally register it this year with the name Grief Community Hub, according to her, this makes her to be the pioneer service provider to people in grief.

On the support she received since making this step, she said “My family has been my greatest support system. They have always wanted me to do what I love. I get a lot of it from my brothers, uncles, cousins and husband.”

She however noted that the concept being novel to most people in her community has created mixed acceptance.

“Some feel they need it but others feel what is this. That is why we are spreading the word and awareness about it and we are growing a community. We are having more people joining us who want to be able to help themselves and others.

“We are getting support from our communities who are willing to always support the work we do. However, we look to more support, collaboration and partnerships with similar organisations or hubs, not necessarily the ones doing what we do, we are hoping to be able to partner with other organisations that are into mental health and related things we do.”

She added that the need for support from different fields is due to the work being multidisciplinary.

From the training I got in doing this, I have the skills to offer mental support services and mental health first-aid services to people who are depressed and traumatised while referring them to other services they may need after they have contact with me or my organisation.

“Part of the things we do at the hub, we realised that grief can start affecting your mental and overall wellbeing so we also offer mental help support services. We are not just limited to that, we offer group therapy sessions, family visits and so on.”

On how she was able to hone her skills, she said it took a lot of training in Nigeria and beyond its shores.

“This made me acquire diploma degrees from different counselling schools, I am undergoing another. So, I have certification in several fields like mental health, first aid, emotional intelligence and so many other skills.

“You can’t just get one training to work in the health field but need a full box of skills from which you can always reach out to as you go on in your practice and I am invested in continuous learning.”

On the need for Nigerians to engage in the service of counselling, “It is very important, there are certain times in our lives that some things happen and we don’t have control over so many things. The only thing in your control is how you manage your response to it. How you manage the way you move forward with your life as a family, individual and organisation.  This is very important because if so many people have access to counselling, coaching, therapy and mentoring, we will have a better nation.

“We will have more mentally and emotionally stable people to move forward as families, communities and as a nation. I will advise that and recommend people to explore this option, they are very great options when people find themselves stuck in life challenges.”

She however said there is the need for more orientation to enlighten the public on counselling when they are stuck in life.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done on media awareness through several platforms on sensitising more people on how grief and losses affect individuals in their life. The mental emotional health and overall wellbeing.”

 

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