MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT MENTAL ILLNESS
Studies have shown that 1:4 persons will have a mental illness in their life time. This can be due to Stress, genetics, nutrition, perinatal infections, trauma , sexual abuse, early parental
loss, substance abuse, exposure to environmental hazards among others. Leave village people out of this.
Mental health, just like hypertension, diabetics, cancer are all non communicable diseases. A major challenge is, while people sympathize with the latter, stigma is attached to the former.
Mental health is as important as our physical health, if not more important. Our wheel of wellness is composed of social, physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial. A problem in any of these can affect our holistic wellness.
Let’s normalize mental health conversations just we way we talk about malaria and stop this propaganda that it is due to spiritual attack. By peddling this narrative, people wouldn’t be able to speak out and get the help they need. Also, help-seeking behaviours will be discouraged.
Today and way forward, unlearn these biases and stereotypes now you know better. Don’t be in denial if you have a challenge. Encourage people to get help if and when they need it. Don’t criticize and judge people living with mental illnesses. Be kind to yourself and others.
Show empathy and let’s continue to build a culture of compassion for healthy communities.
Be reminded that no one has absolute immunity to mental illness. The good news is that mental illnesses are treatable, beatable and manageable. Help is available.