What you need to know:
- The issue: Mental health
- Our view: There is no shame in realising and admitting that indeed one has a problem because it is only after acknowledgment and acceptance that a problem can be solved.
During World Mental Health Day celebrations at Kyambogo University last week, Busia Municipality Member of Parliament, Mr Geoffrey Macho, said half of the 529 Members of Parliament (MPs) are depressed.
This statement drew criticism, with Parliament’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Mr Chris Obore, disputing the statement. (See Daily Monitor, Claims of mentally ill MPs not true – House)
Granted, MP Macho’s statement was not backed by scientific studies and can therefore not be taken as gospel truth but the issue of mental health that he was speaking to is a real challenge in our society today, and this is backed by scientific evidence.
Statistics at Butabika National Referral Hospital for psychiatric care, show that seven in every 10 mentally ill Ugandans are young people and according to statistics from the Ministry of Health, there has been a 15 percent rise in the cases of mental health conditions in the country following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rarely do we consider our mental health and yet we are quick to treat and tend to any mishap in other areas of our health. The pressures and burdens of life keep building and affecting us whether we are cognizant of it or not.
It is prudent that just as we take time to feed and nourish our physical bodies, we ensure that our mental health is taken care of. Taking personal responsibility is key and so is checking in on those in your care for instance children, employees, family, and friends.
Employers must be alive to the fact that those in their employ need to be in tip-top condition for them to be at their most productive. This applies to school administrators too. Learners’ mental health must be a point of concern and action. Otherwise only a fool would expect golden eggs from the goose that they never take good care of.
And finally, let us normalise talking about our mental health. There is no shame in realising and admitting that indeed one has a problem because it is only after acknowledgment and acceptance that a problem can be solved.
According to Dr Hafsa Lukwata, the assistant commissioner for mental health, alcohol, and substance abuse at the Health ministry, the ministry has designed a five-year strategic plan to strengthen the leadership and coordination of mental health services. This is a great and welcome move but as is with most noble causes, the onus is on us, all of us. Take care of your mental health, your children’s, your employees’ and the rest in your circle of influence.