Why Mental Health Should Top our Priority Lists.

Why Mental Health Should Top our Priority Lists.

Do you find yourself full of phobias most of the time? Are you generally always anxious about issues? Are you often in a depressed state? Are you often full of unreasonable thoughts and fears that push you to do things in a particular way? Are you stressed now and again?

Worry not because you could be among the many people who have mental health issues and are unaware of them. For instance, the fact that you often harbour unreasonable thoughts that lead you to some obsessive acts which are a result of fear could mean you are suffering from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder.)

People often confuse OCD with having a keen eye for detail, yet the two are completely distinct. Other people think of depression as ‘usual’ and in the words of my old grannies and grandfathers, they never saw people die from what they could term as fear about life itself.

Yet today more than ever people are at risk of abuse and the rising costs of living together with many other things are adding pressure on people hence most of them are mentally ill and unaware. I used to think that depression was so foreign as I grew up until I experienced mild forms of it myself and realized how real it can become.

As we watch television every single day, we are seeing rising cases of abuse of young people all around. And to worsen things, those are the few that we see. What about the thousands and millions who decide to battle it in silence?

The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have added salt to an injury. People became so much traumatized by the pandemic due to fear of death. In most cases, we at least lost an individual we knew to the disease and that even added fear the more.

Then harder things struck. Cut of incomes and loss of jobs struck homes and people started wondering how they would ever survive. Luckily, we slowly manned up and gained the confidence to face the pandemic but post that, the stress didn’t go away.

Truly we developed a thick skin against the virus but we somehow remained jobless. How could we survive? This is the same case of the individual who gets traumatized by the loss of a loved one and even after the burial, the individual lives in denial that their loved ones did die or in other extremes lives with the trauma years after the death.

This may sound as though it is not as serious as it sounds but closer home, do you know that social anxiety is a disorder? According to some findings published in a 2016 issue titled the fundamental facts about mental health, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety disorder.

Surprisingly enough, young females were found to suffer from social anxiety disorder slightly more than young men in the same group. I brought up this point because I have noticed young women get so much concerned about the issue of marriage especially when they feel the time is not favoring them.

It could be argued that the modern woman has learned to be independent and hence some of these things are not a bother yet the reality is that they do exist. Another fact could be of the majority of young women who are going through abuse at the family level and in relationships.

Arguably, the fact that the independent woman could be unperturbed by issues of societal pressure and expectations concerning marriage, bearing children, or having met certain expectations at a certain age still exists. Facts show that there are usually deeper psychological implications that come along with such anxieties.

These could be supported by an Adult Psychiatric Morbidity (APM) survey that was conducted in 2014 that found that mental health issues were reported to be more prevalent in adults living alone under the age of 60, women who lived in large households, unemployed adults and those who abused drugs. You can agree that the numbers have drastically increased since then.

Just like any other disease, it is easier to note a mental health case. For instance, we are used to seeing someone being very social. Then all of a sudden, we start seeing them distancing themselves from people and staying aloof. That is an indication that something could be wrong. In a specific way, it could mean a case of depression and as we have noted, this is a serious mental health issue.

Another issue could be more of an individual diagnostic as it is of others. When you realise that you are thinking so much and with a lot of fear about an issue that translates to a loss of appetite and changed eating patterns, it could mean it is high time you sought out medical attention.

On the extreme, once self-harm is observed in an individual, then this should raise a serious alarm, and immediate help should be sought out. This is the point where you see someone begin to threaten to kill themselves or harm others and in other cases try suicide. Such cases should be treated with utmost care.

If you observe some unusual behaviour and an individual threatens suicide, let’s not take it as an everyday case of let’s give them the rope to hasten their stupid death. Most of the time it could be a real case of mental ill-health slowly hatching.

Can you relate to any of these?

I could conclude by letting us first understand that when it comes to matters of mental health, no one is immune to it. Secondly, it could be a case so close to us that we didn’t take our time to notice. Thirdly, mental ill health is so real. You need not ask how; chances are you have suffered from it only that you didn’t realize.

 The ever-unforeseen happenings and pandemics on the rise mean that the threat of mental health issues to the human race will become more serious and sounder going forward. Let us then hold our hands together and create awareness about matters to do with mental health.

Let us lead one case to get medical help and slowly we could be ensuring that people are mentally sound one case at a time. Whatever I have written about is but a drop in the ocean, but with time I hope to write more about matters of mental health.



Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at info@dailyfocus.co.ke
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