Young Leaders to be Awarded for Mental Health Work

Amie Sparrow
By Amie Sparrow,
updated on Jun 25, 2018

Young Leaders to be Awarded for Mental Health Work

Her Majesty The Queen will present the awards at Buckingham Palace

Four inspirational young leaders from across the Commonwealth are set to receive awards Tuesday from Her Majesty The Queen for the work they are doing to help transform mental health in their communities.

The Queen's Young Leader Award will be given to 61 recipients aged 18-29 at Buckingham Palace, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also be celebrating the awards. Among the recipients are the following four individuals who are receiving the prestigious award due to their work around mental health.

Hauwa Ojeifo, Nigeria

Hauwa, 26, set up Nigeria's first 24-hour mental health helpline, which has so far helped over 200 women get the support they need. She also runs a women's support group called She Writes Women, which focuses on mental health support and outreach among some of the most vulnerable people in Nigeria.

Hauwa also operates free monthly support groups for women, called Safe Places, which includes therapy and help from counsellors, coaches and physicians. She also goes on 'Hope Visits' to people in psychiatric hospitals who have not had visitors for a long time.

Elizabeth Kasujja, Uganda

After witnessing stigma around mental health in her community in Uganda, Elizabeth, 28, was inspired to co-found Clear Yo Mind, which creates secure online platforms for people to express their feelings and access free help from mental health professionals. Elizabeth, a mental health advocate, found that many mental health problems went undiagnosed due to a shortage of trained professionals and resources.

Elizabeth is currently studying towards a Diploma in Psychology to further support her work. She said "At Clear Yo Mind we raise awareness for mental health and we focus on depression, which silently eating away at our society."

Clear Yo Mind also offers a text message service, where people can ask for help, and secure one-to-one appointments with professionals outside of a hospital environment.

Jodie Dennie, St. Vincent and Grenadines

Jodie, 29, is the creator of The Mind Matters SVG campaign, which aims to teach people aged 10 to 30 about the importance of good mental health. The campaign work includes giving presentations to young people at art therapy and sport summer programmes, and shows how these activities can help improve people’s mental health.

Jodie's interviews of two local people about their experiences with depression were used by the World Health Organisation on World Health Day as part of its 'Depression: Let's Talk' campaign. She created social media sites to promote the campaign at a local, regional and international level. Her work has the support of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Environment.

Hunter Johnson, Australia

Hunter, 27, co-founded The Man Cave, an organisation that works with boys and young men, providing workshops, camps and presentations that explore healthy masculinity, respectful relationships and men's role in gender equality. The programme has worked with more than 2,500 boys and young men. Hunter's goal is to introduce The Man Cave curriculum to every school in Australia, in order to help reduce suicide rates in young men and develop respectful relationship skills.

Hunter's work focuses on ending the stigma around mental health in men and to reduce domestic violence. He has also co-managed Young Social Pioneers, an incubator programme for the country’s top 60 social entrepreneurs and innovators aged 18 to 29. Previously, Hunter co-founded Kids in Philanthropy (KiP), which aims to develop empathy and the culture of giving among children, by encouraging them to raise money for other youngsters in need. In four years, kids and parents of KiP have raised over $300,000 through fundraising events.

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society, has established The Queen's Young Leaders Programme in honour of Her Majesty The Queen's 60 years of service to the Commonwealth.

Winners of this prestigious award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their award from Her Majesty The Queen. With this support, award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.

Photo courtesy of Queen's Young Leaders Programme / Quetzal Maucci

Amie Sparrow

By Amie Sparrow

Amie is a contributing writer for Happiful and PR Manager for Happiful and Memiah.

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