Mental illness is like any other disease, be kind

By Gichuki Lydia Wandia | Wednesday, Apr 3rd 2019 at 12:29
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A recent study ranks Kenya number six on the most depressed people in Africa. Our African culture discriminates against people who have mental illnesses. It’s seen as a sign of weakness and lack of wisdom to deal with the shortcoming and stress that come with life.

Recently there have been a lot of people posting on their Facebook accounts their intent to commit suicide. It’s met with a lot of criticism with others encouraging them to go ahead while some still reach out. This is a cry for help, what they are trying to say is that they are hurting and the pain is excruciating. Those who have survived suicide say that they wanted to end the suffering and not their lives.

The brain is like any other body part only that is not visible. It susceptible to illness and often gets sick. When one has a stomach ache, it's never perceived as a weakness, but when your brain gets ill and have a mental illness, you are perceived as weak. This makes many people suffering to hide until they explode and do the unthinkable.

Generally, people have no information on how to detect mental illnesses as they do other diseases. If one happens to show signs of mental illness, he is said to be demon possessed and sent to the pastor to pray for them in an attempt to cast out the demons. Psychiatric treatment doesn’t require a pastor to cure but a certified psychiatrist and proper medication if need be.

More information about mental illness should be provided and campaign done to create awareness and reduce stigmatization of people with mental illnesses. Every person is a candidate for this illness, and it affects people of all walks of life. Always remember to treat people with kindness because you don’t know what their brain is going through as it's not visible.

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