By Elizabeth Osayande
A 400 LEVEL medical student at the Lagos State University College of Medicine, LASUCOM, Toluwalashe Soyemi, has been honoured with the Diana Award for his efforts in fighting stigmatisation of persons with mental health conditions.
The Diana Award, established in memory of Diana, the late Princess of Wales, is a prestigious award a young person is given for social action or humanitarian efforts.
He was selected alongside 184 recipients from 35 countries, of which he was one of the nine Nigerians selected.
Soyemi at age of 18, co-founded Protostar Initiative, a youth-led social venture committed to providing mental health education in communities whilst advocating the destigmatisation of persons with mental health conditions.
As the Team Lead, he works with local communities to train young people in mental health first aid and
raise awareness in schools and other youth organisations.
These training sessions dispel common myths and help people to recognise symptoms and access support mechanisms for mental health conditions.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has restricted movement, Soyemi and his team have been working on a project that aims to provide online mental health services (counseling, therapy etc) to 1000 people within six months for free.
He is campaigning for a world in which everyone is educated on mental health and where every person with a mental health condition can access the support they need.
This is not the first time that Soyemi would be putting LASU on the global map, as he was recently selected on a fully-funded scholarship to represent Nigeria in Shenzhen, China for the UNLEASH Innovation Lab as a United Nation SDG Talent to pitch his project on mental health and has gotten multiple international opportunities in support of his project on mental health.