THE SILENT KILLER
25-40 percent of persons attending general medical facilities in Kenya have symptoms of mental illness mostly depression and anxiety (Dr.Jackson Kioko, DMS). Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops a person from doing normal activities. It is a serious mental illness that can interfere with a person’s life since it tends to change ones feelings, action and thoughts. There are 1.9 million cases reported, making Kenya to be ranked sixth with the highest number of depression cases globally (MOH).
Family history of mental disorder is a common cause of depression where scientists believe that as many as 40% of the depressed can trace it to a genetic link. Alcohol and drug abuse is also a contributor which may be due to peer pressure or curiosity among young people, not forgetting poverty and unemployment which leaves someone feeling isolated.
The feeling of worthlessness, loss of interest in activities, restlessness,anxiety, hopelessness, insomnia among many are the symptoms that come along with depression and also having suicidal thoughts making depression the leading cause of disability.
Depression is treatable by the use of either psychotherapy, which is the use of psychological methods particularly based on regular personal interaction. It helps in changing behavior and overcome problems, or the use of antidepressants.
Getting more physical activity can lower stress level and help one feel better. It is also advisable not to dwell on problems but talk through with caring friends and express oneself. Teenagers used to alcohol or drug abuse are more susceptible to depression and have a high risk of facing mental and health problems later in life. Psychotherapy seems to be the easiest way of healing to people experiencing signs of depression.
JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATION
THIKA INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS STUDIES