Hello World, May is Mental Health Awareness Month and there just can’t be a better month to launch the blog of the Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Health. I am Marie Abanga, a fervent blogger and mental health advocate, and I would be for the most part, running and moderating this blog.
Indeed, there are definitely several blogs on the web about and for mental health, making this one more blog to seem like just any other. Yet, this blog is probably a pioneer of its kind in the geographical region of Cameroon – Africa, from where the late Gabriel Bebonbechem originated.
What makes it special?
This blog is an outreach project of the Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Well-being, which was created in memory of Gabriel Bebonbechem. It is an interactive platform, for advocacy and sharing of different issues and concerns surrounding the mystery worlds of epilepsy and mental health. Mental Health especially in Africa, still suffers so much neglect and abuse, due to taboo, stigma and general ignorance. This ignorance is both from society and the medical community in general, and several cases abound of mentally ill who roam the streets after being abandoned and neglected by their sometimes hopeless and helpless families. Gabriel was maybe not abandoned by his entire family, but he probably felt the ‘rejection’ of his Father very painfully. Such trauma definitely aggravate the sufferer’s mental challenges. It is past time that awareness efforts are accelerated, and that there is more sensitization about such neurological and mental conditions. The Gbm Foundation for Epilepsy and Mental Well-being was created last year after the death of Gabriel, and the centre which will be the operational arm of the Foundation in Cameroon, was launched on the 3rd of December 2014 on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
And who then was Gabriel Bebonbechem?
I wrote and published a memoir on the demise of this sibling of mine whom I considered a genius in every sense of the word. The memoir is titled; My Brother’s Journey from Genius to Simpleton: Battling with His Mental Illness and Coping with his Loss. I sincerely think both the title to, and the memoir itself, aptly sum up who Gabriel Bebonbechem was, and what he eventually became by the time of his death.
Therefore, the Gbm-em Foundation cordially invites you all to join usas we blog about our painful journey with a a loved son and sibling. You are invited to share your own stories too. There is strength in numbers and therapy in expression especially of our innermost fears and worries. We surely also have aha moments to share, and why not some coping tips and tricks. Epilepsy and Mental Health took Gabriel away from us at the prime age of 33 after 18 good years of turmoil, but that mustn’t be the case with many more if and only if…