Address mental health crisis fast

Friday, July 1st, 2022 04:40 | By
Mental health illnesses. Photo used for representational purposes.
Mental health illnesses. Photo used for representational purposes.

That two university students committed suicide in a span of three days over what they said was failure by their institution to clear them to graduate raises questions that call for urgent intervention even as police investigate the matter.

Two families should not be burying their young people, who have died before their prime and even before they reach their most productive age. Irene Monica and Lenny Masiaga ought not to have died, but their death is a wake up call for all to give serious thought to mental health challenges facing many Kenyans.

For young people to take their lives, it means the society failed them; from the school to friends and society at large.

Graduation is the ultimate crown after years of study. It is the goal any learner hopes to achieve in their youth and it is pegged on many demands burdened on learners. However, it is not the only goal in life. Monica has been trying to graduate for the last two years but she was not able to for various reasons.

The frustrations took a toll and in spite of repeated counseling, she could not take it anymore and wrote to her loved ones that she hoped they would get over her death quickly. Masiaga’s body had stab wounds and was found dangling in his girlfriend’s house.

As a society, we’ve often piled pressure on learners that getting a degree is the only key to success and not having it makes one a failure. This is far from the truth. The pressure has wrought depression when young people encounter hurdles standing in the way of their academic success. After piling the pressure, we ignore signs of depression until it is too late.

An indication that we treat mental health in a cavalier manner is highlighted in the manifestos presidential candidates are launching. The candidates are talking about what they consider big projects but ignoring the ticking time bomb that is mental health.

Mental health has not been prioritised but all sectors of life are reeling from its adverse effect. Teachers, police officers, soldiers, students, workers, parents are all falling into depression but not enough help is coming their way. If we could all play our parts, lives will be saved, careers will not be terminated and the society will be healthier.

That is why we call upon every Kenyans to do something about the mental welfare of their family and friends.

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