Do more to tackle mental illness

mental health

40 per cent of the world's population is suffering from symptoms of mental illness.

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Of late, mental illness has become an endemic problem in our society. Despite technological advancements, cases of manic and suicidal depression continue to hit the headlines.

Statistics indicate that one in 10 Kenyans suffers from mental health illness while the WHO data indicates that one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions.

In a dynamic society like ours where the cost of living has soared, commodity prices and fuel continue to skyrocket daily amid unemployment, poverty and hopelessness, cases of mental illness have also increased at an alarming rate.

Due to the current unpredictable economic landscape, many Kenyans are unrealistically overwhelmed by fear, trepidation, paranoia, pessimism and negative attitude hence emotional disequilibrium.

The coronavirus outbreak that wreaked havoc in many parts of the world between 2020 and 2021 coupled with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and Ukraine-Russia conflict, among other geopolitics imbroglios, can be termed as the source of uncertainty and unpredictability.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that 40 per cent of the world's population is suffering from symptoms of mental illness, 30 percent are anxious or depressed and 11 per cent have contemplated suicide.

Many people are overwhelmed by emotional, psychological and mental anguish that cannot be seen or understood by other people. Millennials obsession with social media, for example, coupled with unemployment, poverty, drug and substance abuse, gambling and hopelessness have profoundly contributed to anxiety and depression. No wonder cases of suicides and homicides have soared in the recent past. The facts speak for themselves.

Admittedly, mental healthcare has been the Cinderella service for donkey’s years. Inadequate resources characterise many public hospitals. Worse, more often than not, people suffering from depression and other emotional and psychological problems are discriminated, stigmatised and ostracised hence exacerbating their psychological trauma. Other times, they are assumed to have been bewitched thus aggravating psychological wounds.

- Mr Muthama is a business and strategic management lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology: [email protected]