Westchester to Host 2024 Created Unique Mental Health Conference

In response to the escalating prevalence of mental health challenges within Nigerian and Black communities worldwide, experts and stakeholders are set to convene in Westchester for the 2024 edition of the Created Unique Mental Health conference. Scheduled to commence on May 23, 2024, the four-day event in New York aims to address the pressing mental health issues confronting these communities, particularly those who have migrated from Africa seeking better living conditions.

The conference will feature plenaries, networking sessions, and workshops, providing a platform for mental health practitioners, government representatives, healthcare workers, religious leaders, and stakeholders from the United States and beyond to engage in robust discussions, share experiences, and exchange valuable insights. A special workshop tailored for healthcare workers will equip attendees with practical strategies for identifying and addressing mental health concerns across diverse population groups.

Ify Ezinwa, the Convener of the Conference, emphasized the significance of examining mental health challenges encountered by Nigerians experiencing the “Japa Syndrome” – a term used to describe emigration from Nigeria to other countries. Ezinwa highlighted the importance of mental preparedness for migrants and the need for adequate support systems to navigate unforeseen challenges that may arise post-migration.

Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ezinwa underscored the critical link between mental health and overall well-being, citing alarming statistics indicating the pervasive impact of mental illness globally. She emphasized the vulnerability of minority groups, particularly Black communities, and the imperative for mental health interventions tailored to their diverse cultural contexts.

Ezinwa stressed the necessity of awareness, education, and access to effective interventions in addressing the mental health crisis. She emphasized the role of tailored approaches that consider individuals’ cultural backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs in delivering mental health services.

The conference will feature distinguished speakers, including Dr. Sosunmola Shoyinka, President of the Association of Nigerian Psychiatrists in the US and Chief Medical Officer at Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health; Dr. Ted Iheanacho, Clinical Psychiatrist and Associate Professor at Yale University School of Medicine; Dr. Allen R. Miller, Clinical Psychologist at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy; and Dr. Jean Wright, Clinical and Forensic Psychologist.

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