In 2020 mental health task force recommend to President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare mental health a national emergency of epidemic proportions following the difficult times caused by the pandemic.
The change in the way of life has been disrupted from economic to social status.
The cases of mental health in the country have risen, with mental health practitioners pointing out that a majority of mentally ill persons have not accepted that they are suffering from mental health-related illness.
According to the mental health task force, 1 out of every 10 suffers from a mental health-related case. With depression and anxiety being the lead diagnosed mental illnesses in the country.
Early this year, the results of mental health have flooded the media. Children killing parents, parents killing children, spouses killing each other and increased cases of suicide. Nothing painted a picture of looking for the solution.
Noticeable was accumulated anger and lack of communication leading to evil and misguided decisions.
Several hashtags and campaigns have been carried in the creation of mental health awareness on various social media platforms such as on Twitter the #speakout, #mindmatters #mentalhealthadvocate across the world. In Kenya, such hashtags include #MentalHealth254 by the Kenya Psychiatric Association KPA last year during the mental health awareness week in May. With the current being #dance4MentalWellness initiated by the National Youth Council Kenya on the international dance day.
The noticeable changes in a person reflecting mental disorder according to the Mental Health Taskforce include long-lasting sadness or irritability; extremely high and low moods, excessive fear worry or anxiety, social withdrawal, and dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits are among the common and detected signs for a person suffering from mental illness.
Medical aspects and remedy frequently highlighted. But what’s the missing link in the course of mental health in the country? Medics across the country have offered a solution, therapies among being sensitive to the emotions of others. Seldom has the spiritual aspect been shunned among the institution to help fight mental awareness.
In March this year, the NCCK committee issued a press release and urged the ministries of health of both county and national governments to organize sustainable training to empower the people to withstand the pressures of life.
The council continued to say that there is also a need to improve the accessibility of mental health in the country and that as churches they will encourage people to end the stigma on mental health and seek to help whenever one is affected.
The church has been sidelined in the fight against mental health in the country. As an institution of social change little wait is taken into its ability to reduce the increased cases of mental illnesses. The common phrase with little attention given in to it “man without God is nothing but
God without a man is still God” has been taken casually according to many Christians as a normal phrase. A strong belief that the church Julie Wangui a degree holder of Actuarial Science, a Christian writer and founder of Millennial Christians argues that forums and open conversation if confronted by the church will foster the fight in mental health issues as much as educating the church that they are not exempted from mental health illness at some course of their life.
She encourages society to embrace the place of the church in the fight.
”The church needs to start having open conversations on mental health; whether it is anxiety or depression, suicide matters, or the less talked about issues like bipolar disorder. May at some course, create forums to educate the congregation on the various mental health issues,” she said.
Catherine Wairimu a Chemical Engineer by profession and an enthusiast of matters youth and salvation and matters mental health stating that less information about mental health issues by the church due to ignorance and misinformation “we are safe as Christians from mental health”
has made the participation of the church very left out and the case of mental health viewed as a medical problem has made the inclusion of the church reluctant in the country against the fifth of mental-related illnesses.
“There is not much understanding in the church concerning mental health field due to ignorance and misinformation making participation of the church harder. She said. ‘The church is given less attention and their opinion less factored in the fight since mental health in Kenya is majorly considered a medical problem and not a possibility of the spiritual aspect,” she further added.
With mental health week awareness set to begin later this month of May from 10th -16th week, they hope the society will incorporate the opinion of the church against the fight and creating awareness as matters spiritual enlightens ones and encourages the right path to be taken and avoiding the pressures of life.
“We are not less of Christians, if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue you can invite Jesus into your situation, proclaim God’s Word over your life as you seek professional help too,” added Julie Wangui.