World Health Day: Woman's journey to overcoming depression - Evewoman
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World Health Day: Woman's journey to overcoming depression

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Pamela has been battling depression for nine years after her divorce from her husband some years ago.

She blames her in-laws for her marriage breakdown, which has caused her untold suffering.

She says that sometimes she could talk to herself like a madwoman when the depression became bad.

Pamela revealed her story during the graduation ceremony at Kenya Institute of Professional Counselling in Nairobi yesterday.

She explained how she could get into fights that did not even concern her at all as the depression worsened.

“Mostly, this occurred at social joints I went to with my friends. These fights could land me in trouble, leaving me withdrawn and not wanting any company,” Pamela said.

Her case highlights the trouble many depressed Kenyans go through, even as the world marks the World Health Day.

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Pamela says she felt that she was all on her own, even as she struggled to raise three children.

Her mother had passed away and there was no one willing to help her.

“Luckily for me, I never attempted suicide. I sought help. My therapist encouraged me, advising me never to abandon my children, but instead look after them as they had no one to look up to,’’ she said.

Though the treatment took time, she was determined to be healed.

“One day I knelt down and asked God for guidance. It was not easy. But my life took a turn-around at that point,” said Pamela, now a psychologist at a counselling centre in Nairobi.

Apart from counselling, she also does mentorship for a non-governmental organisation called Better Future Empowerment Development Organisation.

Prof Teresia Njonge, Programme Coordinator of the Department of Psychology at Egerton University, who was the chief guest at the graduation, said a day does not pass without a murder or suicide which could have been avoided through psychological help.

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Irene Sifuna, a psychologist, said in Kenya, many cases of mental illness can be linked to unemployment, financial stress and poverty.

“If proper leadership and good policies are put in place, mental health in Kenya can be addressed,” said Sifuna.

Unfortunately, she said there are no proper mechanisms to address the issue on mental health. “We live in an era where individualistic traits are disintegrating the social fabric of our society,” she said.

Data shows that a large number of outpatient cases handled at Nairobi’s Mathari hospital led to Kenya being ranked among the top ten countries with the most depressed people in Africa.

A recent report by the World Health Organisation also painted a bad picture on the mental health situation in Kenya.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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