In Kenya, when the word mental health is mentioned the thoughts that run on meany people’s mind is mental illness and craziness yet according to WHO 1 out of 4 youths suffer from mental disorders before they reach 24 years. 1/2 a billion people suffer from depression while 800,000 cases are committed in the world yearly.
According to WHO mental health refers to “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”
1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem.These include depression, anxiety disorder, eating disorders, psychosis or bipolar disorder.
Stigma , inadequate knowledge around mental health, poor or no referral systems in our communities and inadequate funding make it difficult to talk issues around mental health
People suffering from mental disorders say that the stigma around the disease is worse than the disease itself .Many are rejected, forced to lock themselves in their homes, shamed and laughed at as if it is their faults.
We need to change this and give thoughts and time to mental health issues as we do with other health matters, mobilize youth to be leaders in the field, addressing large-scale stigma, and preventing mental health challenges before they become chronic or disabling.