Under the high sponsorship of mrs. Nasseneba Toure, ivorian minister of women, family, and children.
Abidjan, Lomé, Douala and Paris, 31 January 2023 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Bluemind Foundation is holding the second Heal by Hair training session, at Pullman Hotel Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), from January 30 to February 1, 2023, in collaboration with the National Mental Health Program (PNSM) – Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage of Côte d’Ivoire. The Heal by Hair program aims to train and certify 150 professional hairdressers in Abidjan to become mental health ambassadors.
The 150 participants of the second session of Heal by Hair were selected from 989 applications from professionals and self-taught by a jury composed of members of the Scientific Council (SC) and the Stakeholder Council (SC) of the Bluemind Foundation. The hairdressers of the second promotion of Heal by Hair ambassadors are from the Abidjan communes of Abobo, Cocody, and Yopougon. They are owners or managers of hair salons and have at least two (2) years of experience.
For three (3) days, the 150 participants will be trained in the basics of mental health and psychological first aid. The training is customized, both personalized and collective. They will benefit from theoretical and historical immersion, practical group workshops, well-being and psychological support sessions, leadership coaching, and meetings with inspiring personalities.
The pedagogical objectives of the Heal by Hair training are to provide hairdresser ambassadors with a more in-depth knowledge of mental health disorders, to give them a method and tools to observe the first manifestations of mental disorders or the aggravation of existing conditions, to develop interpersonal and active listening skills; and, if necessary, to be able to refer people to experts. Like somatic first aid training, the Heal by Hair program will allow hair stylist ambassadors to become the first link in the care chain, not mental health professionals.
“The Heal by Hair training has had a huge and positive impact on my life and how I work. My clients’ secrets are better kept. I help others better: when a client explains her situation to me, I can listen more attentively, observe her, to guide her usefully, and it is generally a relief. I also have more clients now”, confided Mrs. Minata Silué épouse Sorho, delegate of the inaugural promotion of Heal by Hair mental health ambassadors.
Experts in mental health and leadership give the Heal by Hair training. These Ivorian, pan-African, and international psychiatrists and experts are all convinced that mental health needs to be looked at differently and that with a short training in psychological first aid, first-level responders can help make a lasting impact on the ground. The trainers include :
- Ms. Chrissy KUOH, therapist and coordinator of the Scientific Advisory Board of Bluemind Foundation;
- Dr. Sonia KANÉKATOUA, psychiatrist, CHU campus and Centre for Integrated Addiction Care of Kodjoviakopé (Lomé – Togo) – member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Bluemind Foundation;
- Dr. Christian EYOUM, psychiatrist, head of the psychiatry department at Laquintinie Hospital (Douala – Cameroon) – member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Bluemind Foundation;
- Dr. Madjara ANOUMATACKY, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She has been working for nearly 14 years in the National Mental Health Program in Côte d’Ivoire;
- Dr. Anna Corine BISSOUMA, psychiatrist and founding member of the Association Autismes Côte d’Ivoire (2Aci);
Mrs. Nassenéba Touré, Ivorian Minister of Women, Family, and Children, sponsors the second edition of Heal by Hair. She holds an NTIC engineering degree, a master’s degree in international business administration, and an MBA in management. Mrs. Nassenéba Touré has held, since 1993, positions of responsibility at the international and national levels. Mayor of the commune of Odienné since 2012, Mrs. Nassénéba Touré is the winner of the National Prize for Excellence of the best mayor of the year (2014) in Côte d’Ivoire.
“The Heal by Hair program is an innovative, culturally appropriate initiative that promotes and strengthens female leadership in mental health in Côte d’Ivoire and Africa. These ambassadors are the first relays of psychological support within the communities. The National Mental Health Program (PNSM) is committed to supporting and integrating this beautiful initiative into the national mental health strategy”, says Prof. KOUA A. Médard – coordinating director of the PNSM.
As a reminder, the inaugural session of Heal by Hair, held in Abidjan from April 4 to 6, 2022, allowed the certification of 22 hairdresser ambassadors in mental health, who are currently raising awareness and supporting nearly 8,000 Ivorian women per year.
“Taking care of women’s well-being and mental health in Africa must become a public health priority to build a continent that grows in humanity. Thus, this second edition of the Heal by Hair program is an important moment for the Bluemind Foundation. It is proof of our constant commitment to African women, a reminder that they are not alone. It also demonstrates the growing social impact of Heal by Hair for the ambassador hairdressers and their clients. Through the support of our renewed and new partnerships, we are grateful to contribute to the mobilization of mental health efforts from various backgrounds. This is a strong and encouraging signal for the 66 million women suffering from mental health problems in Africa who urgently need solutions. “, underlines Marie-Alix de Putter, president and founder of the Bluemind Foundation.