World Radio Day: Josiah Jackson-Okesola’s Personal Journey Inspires Digital Media Innovation for Mental Health Support of Immigrants

A new international radio project aimed at providing psycho-social support for migrant workers across the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Americas, Asia, and Europe is set to be launched.

This was made known on on Tuesday, World Radio Day by a diaspora-based mental health expert and digital media broadcaster, Josiah Jackson-Okesola who is spearheading the international project.

Speaking to journalist on the UNESCO World Radio Day, Mr Jackson-Okesola said that the international media project now which is now test-running live on air as it nears it’s completion, is aimed at marking the impact of radio as a broadcast medium used to not only entertain billions but change lives.

“Our initiative seeks to address the psycho-social challenges faced by immigrants, providing them with a supportive platform tailored to their unique experiences,” remarked the Josiah Jackson-Okesola who is the founder of the global project.

He explained that the inception of the initiative, known as JapaCity, finds its roots in the his own journey and ordeal as a mental health nurse clinician who encountered formidable obstacles upon immigrating to the United Kingdom.

Confronting racial prejudice, targeting and discrimination that threatened his mental health, the founder was galvanised to leverage on his skills as a media broadcaster to establish a media innovation offering solace and guidance to immigrants navigating the psycho-social complexities of migrating to a new country.

“I do not want others to pass through half of the turmoil I went through as an immigrant. Using my lived experience as a thriving migrant worker, I am now far more adequately equipped, inspired, and motivativated to lead, guide, care and support others who are either vulnerable as prospective emigrants, or currently going through the significant ordeals faced by newly arriving immigrants,” he added.

More than just a digital media app, JapaCity is expected to represent a transformative force harnessing the power of digital technology and artificial intelligence to bolster the psycho-emotional well-being of immigrants.

The initiative also provides partnerships opportunities for African radio stations to leverage the innovation and technology of relay station to broadcast culturally tailored programming from Africa to the diaspora.

A key feature of JapaCity which is now being test-run with 24/7 live broadcast is the digital integration of a relay station with diverse content streams sourced from partnered African radio stations, cultivating a rich tapestry of culturally inclined programming.

A flagship livestream programme, SAFE SPACE, is set to take center stage, delivering real time psychological and emotional support for its immigrant audience.

Additionally, the platform which is being built into a media app offers anonymous “live-call-in” and ‘live-chat’ options, facilitating direct communication for immigrants seeking assistance from expert counselors. These features collectively position JapaCity as a comprehensive and empathetic digital media solution catering to the psycho-social needs of the immigrant community.

Lending her voice to support her husband’s passion for the global media project, Queen Okesola, who is also a co-founder at JapaCity added: “His personal journey underscores the significance of this project to the community of migrant workers. Drawing from his trials as a migrant worker, the aim is to bridge the gap in the provision of pastoral support and psychological first aid for immigrants.”

Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, JapaCity recognises international migration as a force for positive change when effectively harnessed. The project endeavours to provide targeted, personalised support for immigrant workers, their dependants and families, nurturing resilience and mental well-being.

Highlighting the significance of the project for the coming years, Mr Jackson-Okesola concluded:

“We have a scary situation in the ongoing crisis hitting the gobal workforce. Many advanced countries who are battling aging population are adjusting their immigration laws to encouraged influx of skilled migrant workers who can fill the massive shortages in skilled workforce.
What is happening to the mental well-being of thousands of these immigrant workers who are either not well prepared for the challenges accompanying relocation, or have not built the needed resilience or strong support systems is very pathetic!

While some of us are fortunate to bounce back, others are drowning in the dilemma. Waiting till migrant workers break down mentally before we act is always costlier than providing earlier and preventative psychological care and support on or before their arrival. Innovating digitally driven solutions that complement the existing systems to deliver adequate psychological support to departing emigrants and newly arriving migrants to facilitate social inclusion in these countries is worth all the efforts!

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