Check, when was the last time you considered the possibilities of having a mental checkup?
On average, it is rare to see anyone go for a health checkup, unless things are not going on fine. Health experts warn that 1 out of 4 Kenyans suffer from Mental illness according to an investigation by Nation Newslpex investigation. It probably doesn’t appeal to you as a huge number, however upon evaluation, here is some quick math. It means that 12 million people in the country are suffering from one mental illness.
A majority of Kenyans do not understand or have a grasp on what mental health and by extension what mental illnesses are. Mental health can be described as emotional, psychological and social well-being. However, studies on human science reveal that mental illness is a disease that causes severe disturbance in thought or behavior.
Psychologist, Stephen Muriira reveals that, mental illnesses are caused by two major things; Nature or nurture. Nature in this case refers to the environment and the environmental conditions in an area which lead you into developing a mental illness. For instance, brain injury or lack of oxygen in a foetus, may cause autism and many other factors. On the flipside, nurture; is to do with your upbringing and basically what your caregiver does in your formative years, whose adverse effects can contribute to your mental well being or cause you to have a mental illness.
Mental illness is largely misunderstood as someone going marbles, but it is actually not that at each given time. For instance depression may make you feel so empty or anxiety may make you feel so worried and tense. However; most people have ended up focusing mostly on depression that many other mental illnesses are left unexposed. These amongst them include; Anxiety, Dementia, and schizophrenia to mention but a few. Though unheard of, they still have an impact to our society. A staggering 23 million are claimed to be suffering from Schizophrenia according to a report by the World Health Organization.
For instance many know not, details about Schizophrenia. The disease causes disorganized behaviour and emotional behaviour. Symptoms of the behaviour are mostly hallucinations, delusions (feeling that you are being controlled by someone). The patient or victim may also experience poor concentration and a lack of facial expressions and lack motivation for projects that you used to have. It can be caused by genetic inheritance a chemical imbalance in the brain or family relationships. It is believed that people suffering from Schizophrenia are likely to die 2-3 times earlier than the general population; this being in a World Health Organization report.
Another disease that is commonly avoided and not discussed is Dementia. This disease is mostly identified with old people. Most people confuse dementia with Alzheimer’s disease but in real truth dementia is put under the umbrella of Alzheimer’s disease. What caught my eye with this disease is that it can be caused by too much sugar intake and a lack of Vitamin D in your body.
Most symptoms of the disease are inability to pay attention, a loss of memory (mostly short memory like where they put their house keys or where they kept their medicine). They may also be paranoid and agitated a lot.
Anxiety has been avoided as a mental illness but it is actually a disease. It causes most victims to have uncharacterized feelings of tension. The symptoms of this disease are many and are increased blood pressure, rapid breathing, trouble concentrating and an immense trouble sleeping. A report by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 8% of children and teenagers suffer from anxiety and 1 in 13 people in the world suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can be characterized into the following. General Anxiety Disorder, panic disorders, phobia, Obsessive compulsive disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These disorders are all linked to anxiety. For instance Phobia is a fear of a specific thing for instance fears of water or heights and other issues. For Post Traumatic disorders this is triggered by traumatic occurrences, for example rape or watching someone die as you watched or military officers who have been on the battlefield.
According to the World Health Organization, 1/3 of world populations are suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. This condition makes you want to do something over and over again because of what you may be thinking. For instance cleaning your hands each time you do something because you are obsessed with cleanliness every time if you are a germaphobe.
All matters – healthy minds put into a spotlight, It is not just enough to know these diseases but it is rather important to make sure that you check on your mental health most times. However due to the stigma not many people can face a psychiatrist not many are around the country. Research shows that there are only about 88 psychiatrists in the country. This means a lot needs to be done to bring in more and train more people and create awareness.
Make your move today on mental well-being.