Promoting Good Mental Health on #WorldMentalHealthDay

‘Mental Health is as important as physical health. Just because you see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist’-@reasonsSmile

Acute Psychotic Disorder. That’s what she saw the doctor scribble down.

But how could she have that? What did it even mean? Last time she checked she acted and felt ‘normal’ until that moment at the doctor’s office! Did he just say that she was losing her mind? It was all hard to believe and take in. There she was just diagnosed with a condition that she had only seen in movies and the current series like NSIS, House of Cards and her current watch ‘Blindspot’, which was on replay. I mean you get the drift.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, the doctor said that she was on her way to depression. WOW. Depression, isn’t that comparable to rich peoples disease? A white man’s disease? Africans don’t get such diseases! I mean if its Malaria, Pneumonia, Typhoid, etc that she could live with, but Depression?? She could not wrap her mind around this revelation as she sat there confused wondering what direction her life was taking.

I am writing this article on World Metal Health awareness day because this is something that is so well hidden among us, especially in Kenya with the number of such cases on the rise, every day. Just to let you know, my dear reader, mental health issues do not happen to any particular group in society, anyone is vulnerable.

Many young people are continuously losing this battle to alcohol, drugs, violence, and suicide rates are at an all-time high in Kenya. I write this post, not for pity, but in solidarity with these brave men and women who have to go to battle with their demons, at any given time, sometimes even when not fully prepared for combat. People need to know that these issues exist and that they are real! The sad thing is that many suffer in silence. These are your colleagues, your daughters and sons, your nieces and nephews, your friends. With the modern day stress triggers, it is vital that such issues take center-stage in the national discussion.

My curiosity led me to research more about mental health, depression, anxiety, OCD, the works and I believe that this has opened up my mind about mental health in a great way.

So here is a list of a few things we can do to promote good mental hygiene:

1. Do not let anxiety depression or any kind of mental disorder define who you are.

2. Word of advice; don’t tell someone ‘get over it’ or ‘snap out of it’ is not that simple for them.

3. What people with mental health issues need is a strong support system, and this system needs to understand how mental disorders works. It all starts with education and raising awareness about these issues in our society.

4. Avoid negative people and negative energies.

5. Listen to the music that you love and eat bananas or oranges/grapes. There’s a reason why these are called the ‘happy fruits’.

6. Lastly, the key is to manage your stress levels, eat a balanced diet and exercise (which I have to admit I am doing badly)

A quote from the WHO website says ‘Depression can be treated. If you think you have depression, seek help.’

The lady in the doctor’s room is still fighting her demons. That girl is me. It is not easy writing about you, putting yourself in that vulnerable position, but someone has to talk about it, so I will take my chances. The more we as Kenyans talk (and write about it) the more we will win this fight.