May, 26, 2023
Nyamira County First Lady Emily Bousi Nyaribo has cautioned Kenyans against stigmatizing people with mental challenges.
Mrs Nyaribo said stigmatization coupled with the current economic hardships and failure to address signs of depression has seen suicide cases increasing in the country.
“Statistics have shown that one out of four Kenyans are suffering from mental health. This is worrying considering that there are more than 2,000 people in various health facilities locally undergoing mental challenges while many more have not been in hospitals,” she said
She called for mental health awareness across the country, warning that stigmatization of such patients worsened their conditions.
“Let us not ignore those who suffer from mental health. Such people should be helped to overcome their conditions,” she said.
The First Lady noted that due to stigmatization and misconception on mental health and fitness, many people were suffering in silence.
“ Let us be proactive in supporting those we suspect have mental health instead of stigmatizing them in order to address their health conditions,” she said.
Mrs Nyaribo was addressing a rally at Nyamira's Uhuru garden where she was chief guest during the Gusii Mental Health Awareness (GIMA) campaign.
GIMA is a non-governmental organization formed by various professionals aimed at reducing mental health in Nyamira and Kisii Counties.
A member of the NGO, Dr Mary Njuguna, a psychiatrist at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital and founder Tabitha Bwari Mogeni said there was need to address psychological, biological and social factors in order to reduce mental health.
“Many people suffer mental health without knowing. Let us share our psychological, biological and social problems with our friends, relatives and medics to avoid damaging our brains. This is one way of reducing mental health and suicides,” Dr Njuguna said.
She warned against usage of derogatory names against those suffering from mental health, arguing that such a move worsened their health conditions.
“We are all stakeholders of mental health. Childhood experiences, such as trauma or abuse, can have long-lasting effects on mental health,” Dr Njuguna said.
She added that chemical imbalances in the brain such as the case of depression or anxiety can also contribute to mental health problems.
The County Secretary Dr Jack Magara said plans were underway to establish an office to handle mental health for the Nyamira County staffers.
“Some staff have been taken to rehabilitation centers due to over-indulging in alcohol uptake. This can be prevented if we have an office where workers who are stressed are counselled,” he said.
The County Health Executive Committee Member Dr Timothy Ombati said counselling units will be established in sub-counties to address mental health amongst civil servants.
“We have already established a mental health clinics at the Nyamira County Referral hospital and Ekerenyo Sub-County hospital to address mental health cases in the County,” he said.
(By Governor’s Press Services)