“We need to create safe spaces where people can freely talk about the various life pressures”
Steve Mbuthia, a certified professional coach, says people have limited avenues to decompress from various pressures of life including the prevailing high unemployment and tough economic times. These emotions are bottled up such that people easily resort to murder or suicide even at the least provocation.
“For many, such also points to deteriorating mental health among the Kenyan population. This is exacerbated by the fact that awareness of causes and treatment of various mental health conditions including depression remains starkly low,” he said.
Some suicides are linked to mental disorders and many occur in moments of crisis when one is dealing with difficult events such as financial problems, relationships break-ups and chronic illnesses according to World Health Organization. Conflict, abuse, disaster and loss are also closely linked to suicidal behavior.
Mbuthia urges a rethink on how mental health in Kenya is handled. “We need to create safe spaces where people can freely talk about the various life pressures and get help. Let us embrace a culture of seeking therapy,” he adds. Religion, which was seen as an avenue of teaching sanity and respect for human life, has not been effective in playing the role due to emergence of confusing doctrines that impart contradicting values.
Dr Geoffrey Wango, a lecturer in Counseling and Psychology at the University of Nairobi says an escalation of crimes such as corruption and murders without the proper legal action being taken has given the population the impression that it is easy to do something illegal and get away with it.
Wango suggests strict penalties to be imposed against crimes such as murder and more vigilance in prosecuting them.
But even as the legal process takes its course against the perpetrators of such heinous acts it is necessary to address the triggers of such behavior. Most perpetrators may actually have mental illness.
Published on People Daily, Monday 13th 2020 (pg 13)
Tel: (+254) 0725366614 or