The silent Killer in Kenya Guest writer Martin Mukenya.

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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

Suicidal thinking

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

https://www.mugambipaul.com/tag/mental-illness/

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

or both.

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.

http://publications.universalhealth2030.org/uploads/Kenya-Mental-Health-Policy.pdf

 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.