She Writes Woman (SWW) is a movement of love, hope and support for women living with mental illnesses. We seek to ensure that people living with mental disorders are believed, understood and supported. It is no longer enough that mental health is left only to mental health professionals to speak about. We believe that warriors of mental disorders are given a safe space to speak freely about their experiences without being stigmatized. It is of utmost importance that we take back the narrative of people living with mental disorders and end stigma one conversation at a time.
By taking back the narrative, we are giving mental illness a voice in Nigeria. We are creating awareness using creativity, art, positivity and spirituality. We are ensuring that no one ever has to go through this journey alone. We are damning the consequences and owning our stories through it all. We hope that with these, we can get more and more people to see the importance of mental health and why treatment should be sought. Essentially, we are connecting pain with hope.
Hauwa is the founder of She Writes Woman (SWW). Following a diagnosis of bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorder in December 2015, Hauwa set out to make sense of her diagnosis. She sought support groups but could not find any. She needed a crisis helpline whilst plagued with suicidal thoughts, paranoia and delusions, but didn’t find any. Her diagnosis was hard on loved ones, and understanding an illness that was so stigmatized was the biggest challenge.
Along the way, Hauwa got tired of living in fear. The silence only made it worse. She decided to take a stand and damn the consequences. She Writes Woman as a mental health movement was born. Hauwa has pledged to lend a voice and share her story through media. She has tirelessly worked to ensure that no woman has to live in shame and fear of judgment. She has owned her story and uses the movement to create awareness.
Since inception on April 17, 2016, SWW has launched the first 24/7 mental health crisis helpline in Nigeria and recently begun the first anonymous women-only mental health support group in the country. Hauwa’s vision is to see a Nigeria that is free of stigma, by normalizing the conversation around mental health challenges and ensuring that women living with mental disorders are believed, understood and given adequate support.