In recent days, there has been an increase in reported cases of homicides and suicides pointing to the apparent deterioration of mental health.
It is in this light that the JKUAT Clinical Medicine Association (JKUCMA) organized a mental health awareness campaign at the Juja Main Campus, Monday, July 5, 2021.
Speaking at the event, JKUCMA Patron, Mr. Tiberry Nyakwana, noted that mental health has been recognized in the Kenyan Constitution and therefore greater public education on mental disorders and provision of more resources for treatment could lead to improvement in the lives of those living with mental disorders in Kenya.
“Kenyans living with mental disorders often experience stigma on multiple levels,” said Mr. Nyakwana, adding, “stereotypes surrounding those with mental illnesses lead to public stigma, since many people associate mental illnesses with evil. Stigma is a factor preventing Kenyans from receiving efficient treatment,” he said.
On her part, Mrs. Margaret Wainaina, Senior Student’s Counselor while emphasizing on clinical depression, cited data from the World Health Organization (WHO), indicating that more than 300 people in the world experience this type of depression.
Clinical depression is the most severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder she noted isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder and can affect people of any age, including children.
However, its symptoms, even if severe, she added, usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two.
“Major or clinical depression is a serious but treatable illness that can sometimes occur from one generation to the next in families, but often it may affect people with no family history of the illness,” said Mrs. Wainaina.
Depending on the severity of symptoms, your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist may recommend treatment with an antidepressant medication. They may also suggest psychotherapy, or talk therapy in which you address your emotional state,” Mrs. Wainaina advised.
Covid-19 pandemic continues to have negative mental health outcomes among Kenyans with direct effects of the disease likely to lead to bereavement but also loss of incomes and jobs due to the curfew and other containment measures by the government.
The one-day awareness campaign was attended by students drawn from the College of Health Sciences.