Signs and symptoms of mental illness can
vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions,
thoughts and behaviors.
Examples of signs and symptoms include:
Feeling sad or down
Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
Withdrawal from friends and activities
Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
Problems with alcohol or drug use
Major changes in eating habits
Sex drive changes
Excessive anger, hostility or violence
Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and
pains. Risk factors
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, including:
A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling
Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one’s death or a divorce
An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes
Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic brain injury), such as a violent blow to the head
Traumatic experiences, such as military combat or assault
Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
A childhood history of abuse or neglect
Few friends or few healthy relationships
A previous mental illness What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times where you experience:
manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high)
depressive episodes (feeling low)
potentially some psychotic symptoms during manic or depressed episode PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER
The thoughts, feelings and experiences associated with paranoia may cause you to:
find it hard to confide in people, even your friends and family
find it very difficult to trust other people, believing they will use you or take advantage of you
have difficulty relaxing
read threats and danger (which others don’t see) into everyday situations, innocent remarks or casual looks from others. We all seem to be victims of Mental
illness, and sadly most people are suffering in silence either unknown to them, maybe shared to someone but it never made sense or society perceptions
for fear of stigma.
The stigma of mental illness in Kenya and by extension in Africa has caused many people to suffer in silence. In Africa mental issues are attributed to
either witchcraft or spiritual problems.
Lack of understanding also contributes as sited in this article
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle
stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, you’re thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to
mental health problems, including:
Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
Family history of mental health problems
Mental illness can make it difficult for someone to cope with work, relationships and other demands. The relationship between stress and mental illness
is complex, but it is known that stress can worsen an episode of mental illness. Most people can manage their mental illness with medication, counselling
Recently, the government launched the Kenya Mental Health Policy 2015-2030. The Policy states that 1 in every 4 Kenyans suffers from mental ill health
in their lifetime. That translates to 12 m Kenyans who will need medical attention.
Kenya has 88 consultant psychiatrists and about 500 psychiatric nurses serving a population of over 45 million people.
Our big obligation is to ensure that the right patients get the right care and treatment, at the right time, and in the right setting.
I know many can’t gather courage to discuss stress, depression, emotional health, mental health issues but please during this corona virus moment because
of the negative economic effects keep your yourself, family friends and members of this platform on check.
Mind is communication.
All in all, Kenyans are suffering silently. It’s a ticking set bomb. Many have committed suicide while men and women with disabilities have often an increase of mental health concerns.
The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Martin Mukenya is a social change maker,
Entrepreneur. Mentor and one of the young leading strategic thinkers.