Lincoln News

Lion - Pulling Up The Curtain On Mental Health

Nwachuku ’08 opens up about mental health and his awareness organization TalkNaija

mental-health-350w.jpgTwenty years ago, Chinomso D. Nwachuku and his family entered the United States. As a 6th grader adjusting to life in America, Nwachuku — who was still learning English — experienced firsthand the mental toll that bullying has on a young child.

“Nigeria was not devoid of bullying, however, the bullying that I witnessed and experienced in the United States was entirely different. It bothered me that a person can be bullied for the entire school year simply because of things out of their control such as their parent’s inability to buy the latest sneakers for them,” said Nwachuku in a recent interview with online publication The Man Defined.

By the time Nwachuku entered 7th grade, the constant bullying from his classmates started to take a serious toll on his mental health. It was then that Nwachuku became interested in psychology.

“I read about the symptoms of depression and anxiety and searched for what to do to alleviate my symptoms.” Nwachuku said he found solace in reading, writing, and physical activity.

Now, as a D.C. area public servant who works in the US Department of Health and Human Services as a public health advisor, Nwachuku spends his free time working to create an open dialogue about mental health in African American and Nigerian communities. “The stigma around mental health is still prevalent today especially in the Nigerian community,” said Nwachuku. “I believe that mental health is typically shown from a narrow lens, which is usually negative,” he added.

To combat this issue, Nwachuku networked with likeminded individuals through social media and joined Joy Ukaigwe, a data analyst, Uchechi Ukuku, a doctor in clinical psychology, and Mujidat Tutu Shotonwa, a licensed mental health technician and
launched TalkNaija.

TalkNaija is an online resource that provides an open space for dialogue for those struggling with depression and anxiety.

TalkNaija Founders — Joy Ukaigwe, Dr. Uchechi Ukuku, Chinomso Nwachuku and Mujidat Tutu Shotonwa

“Our ultimate goal is to encourage Nigerians struggling with any mental health issue to seek treatment. We aim to do this by beginning with awareness,” said Nwachuku “we want to provide resources for those struggling and their families, and to support our fellow people. We want to humanize and destigmatize mental illness, because we know this will lead to better outcomes.”

Thus far, TalkNaija has received positive feedback from its participants. Nwachuku said he hopes to network with more mental health professionals as the organization grows and plans to have more public events to generate more participation in the initiative.

To learn more visit

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 Lion.

By Devin Bonner, Office of Communications and Public Relations