About People Like You (APLY)

Introduction

Drug Abuse: The prevalence of drug abuse among adolescents has become one of the most disturbing public health problems in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Many families are affected by illicit drug use; a situation that has become endemic within primary and secondary schools. These drugs of abuse include illegal drugs and readily available over-the-counter drugs. In a report by the United Nations office on drugs and crime, it was shown that the age of first time illicit drug use has dropped to 12years. This is, to an extent due to insidious influences that seem to encourage or condone substance abuse; youths now tend to see the drug user as one who is tough, bold, strong, and thus a role model to them. The reality of drug use among youths knows no bounds as the rates are more or less consistently high across all gender, ethnic, income and geographical boundaries.  Most of these youths are unaware of the dangers inherent in drug use such as mental illnesses.

The problem of drug abuse impedes the development of any individual or society as it is a threat to life, health, dignity and prosperity. Our Society need to be aware of the menace of drug abuse especially as it is gradually crawling into our educational systems.Thus it is critically important that primary prevention efforts address all young people as well as the adults who influence them.

Sexual Abuse: In most parts of Africa, sexual abuse is a taboo topic and its victims are stereotyped by the society. Majority of children and youths are not educated on prevention strategies or the various signs of sexual abuse. Cultural attitudes towards sexual abuse have made many parents believe that their children cannot be victims. We need to be aware of the facts.

World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that:

  • a child is sexually abused every two minutes, and in every 10 homes, one person is or has been involved in child sexual abuse.
  • 90% of child sexual abusers are acquainted with the child. In other words; only about 10% or perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child
  • Sexual abuse affects both the male and female child
  • About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members
  • Not all perpetrators are adults – 23% or reported cases are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18
  • Highest prevalence of sexual abuse is geographically found in Africa
  • The effects of sexual abuse can cause various mental health complications that include but not limited to severe psychiatric complications, suicidal attempts, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to a child.
  • Children, youths, parents and caregivers need to have access to information and resources to enable them make intelligent decisions We also provide empowering environment for victims to speak out, as a means of reducing the incidence of sexual abuse

 

Intervention:

Education institutions may not be able to make a direct change on students’ behavioural patterns, but one thing they do have in common is their power to improve student knowledge, skills and to encourage their abilities to develop defensible values. About People Like You (APLY) is an educational, awareness and empowerment program that contributes to the achievement of broader health goals of preventing poor health outcomes such as the adverse effects of substance and sexual abuse. The goal of APLY is so create a healthy environment for youths, through appropriate policies, information dissemination and provision of professional health services and support. The emphasis is on the youth making informed choices.

APLY program activities are based on three strategic objectives:

  • To provide quality substance abuse prevention and treatment services
  • To create awareness about sexual abuse and empower affected individuals to speak out
  • To provide information and support for other mental health issues

A look at mental health across Africa