Although we are 8 billion of us in the small planet, the world has never been so lonely. Face to face connection with people is a mental gym session we cannot take for granted.
Tag Archives: mental health
Suffering depression is wrongly considered a sign of weakness, an innate inability to cope with hard times. Yet depression can affect anyone and like any illness, requires some helpful intervention.
I don’t know why I assumed that the numbers would be small – perhaps because we do not talk about it much and also perhaps because we stigmatize mental health and want to believe that it only affects certain types of people and we are not them.
I did spend some time wondering whether this topic was worth writing about – but since i had read the literature I thought why not. We scientists don’t like to talk about demon possession, its one of those topics deemed totally uncool, unscientific and oh so unlearned to get hooked on. However, we can’t ignore this discussion in Africa, as it permeates a lot of our life. It especially affects our outlook on mental health.
As science sheds light on disease causation, attributing ill health to the devil is shifting to the periphery more and more. Take the example of Kilifi in the days when malaria was killing hundreds of children a year. A child that had cerebral malaria was thought to have been attacked by a spirit that hated bad smells and children suffering from convulsions were exposed to bad smells to drive the spirits away. Cerebral malaria has a high fatality rate and
They are at it again – ghosts have attacked another school!
Today, 10th of October is World mental health day. In a country like Kenya, with high rates of infectious diseases, were 1.5 million people are pushed into extreme poverty every year due to health costs, mental health problems are not seen as conditions requiring medical care. After all, most mentally unwell people are physically, very able. A lot of things get handled badly. Mentally unwell people are often labeled as ‘demon possessed’. I could go on about that one.
I had thought of writing this article before the Westgate crisis. Although the siege ended, it all feels so unreal. We who watched it on TV, like most people on the globe, still can’t believe what happened. The untold stories of the hostages who were mutilated by the terrorists are now slowly emerging. We would have been spared the full extent of that ordeal had it been left to the mainstream media but now we get to know so much.