She is one of Nigerian’s foremost Psychiatrist, a mentor and an influencer. Her engagement on Instagram has helped a lot of people mentally and physically. She is intelligent and very smart. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Dr. Tomi.
You are welcome.
First things first, we appreciate your time and availability to conduct this interview. Please we will like to know you more by asking some questions.
1. Tell us a bit about your background, school, and Where were you from?
I’m from Ilesha in Osun State. I am married with two children. I studied Medicine and Surgery at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. I did my residency training in Psychiatry at Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos. I had my postgraduate studies in Psychology (MSc) at Walden University, Minnesota, USA.
Me: Wow this is huge…
2. How was life growing up?
Life was simple when I was young. I grew up in a university quarters and saw first hand how to live a simple life without the pressure of impressing anyone. In fact, there was no one around to impress! The houses were the same, the ranks and positions were the same, the schools were the same, the clothes were the same etc. We learnt to turn inwards to find our individuality. I thoroughly loved it.
Me: Something we should all learn to admit and adapt…
3. At what age in your life did you decide you wanted to be psychiatrist?
My interest in Psychiatry goes as far back as my 18th birthday. I was curious about the human mind and finding there was a field dedicated to studying it was great news to me. However, I chose to complete my degree in Medicine and find a path to my passion from it.
4. How do you cope running a fast growing platform on social media?
I love creating mental health awareness and social media has been a crucial vehicle in driving these efforts. Running this platform is not stressful because it’s connected to what I love. It’s almost effortless.
Me: Very true…
5. Is being a psychiatrist a burden or a blessing or a bit of both?
Helping people restore and/or maintain their mental health is not a burden at all. It’s a privilege.
6. What challenges have you had to tackle as a psychiatrist?
Stigmatization of the profession has been a challenge. It is not only mentally ill people that are stigmatized. Mental health professionals too face stigma from the society. People often act differently once they find out I’m a Psychiatrist. It’s almost predictable. That’s why we are focusing on awareness.
7. In your opinion, what is the most difficult part in mental health and well-being?
Taking the step to get help when facing mental health challenges is the most difficult step I can think of.
8. What’s the weirdest thing a patient/ follower has ever told you?
“Are you a real doctor?”
Me: I can’t stop laughing, this is really funny…
9. Your confident is so bold, especially when you dive into sex talk, do you sometimes have the fear of people’s reaction?
My focus is creating an enabling environment for people to talk freely about these issues that are cloaked in silence. I can’t do that effectively by being vague or silent. The number of people that reach out via Direct Messages make the efforts worthwhile. So, no, I don’t fear the reactions of a few people.
10. Which other professional are you looking forward in working with or have something coming out with?
I look forward to working with Mainstream Media professionals. There are so many ways they can influence social change. It’s amazing! I do hope some of them will join us in changing the narrative about mental health.
11. If you had a chance to work with one person in the world, who would it be?
Professor Abiodun Adewuya. He is a Professor of Psychiatry at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. He is my teacher and mentor. Any opportunity to work with him will always be a delight. That’s the thing. There are already amazing people in our lives. Let’s build those relationships.
12. What are your top 3 points in your note or pad that you always reflect on?
A) Family life B) Long term career goals C) Mental Health Awareness
13. Aside the unemployment nature of the country, what drove you to become an influencer?
I see myself as a mental health Advocate. Unemployment rate of the country does not directly influence my choice. The major drive is stigma. Anything I can say or do that will lessen stigmatization of the mental ill in the world will be a worthy venture.
14. How do you manage to be a Christian and a psychiatrist?
It took me a long time to understand how my profession fits into my christian faith. I finally have my peace about that. I believe that emotional well-being is best anchored in spiritual well-being if it’s to be sustainable and holistic. We have to take care of our spirits, souls, and bodies. It’s okay if it’s not popular opinion. It works well for me.
15. What are your goals to fight emotional well-being and mental health in Nigeria?
a) reduce STIGMA b) reduce SUICIDE c) improve SEX for women.
16. Do you think the situation is increasing or decreasing?
What situation? The rate of mental illness in the country. But that is by the way, with your contribution on social media i think it is decreasing.
17. What are some things that you would like to accomplish but not in view yet in your career?
I will love to be a Professor and teach young minds about mental health but it is not in view just yet.
18. What advice would you give to unmotivated and uninspired people around the world. Please explain???
People can be transiently unmotivated and uninspired. However, if it’s persistent, please change your life. You are not too old to start over.
19. What’s next for Dr. Tomi?
Scaling up of mental health awareness nationwide. Advocacy directed towards government, policy makers, and stakeholders. That’s just the start.
Thank you for having me.
In case you need her services and assistance on mental issues or a psychiatrist. Dr. Tomi Haven is open for sessions and consultation.
You can get her on Instagram: @drtomihaven