Mental health is a big health challenge, but people shy away from talking about it. Comparatively, mental health is just as huge as other killer diseases such as cancer, diabetes and HIV and AIDS. However, mental disorders do not get as much attention as these other diseases do. Many people do not make mental health health a priority.
Issues in mental health are broad, they range from very common problems such as depression, loneliness, and anxiety to complex and rare classes such as bipolar and schizophrenic. Some mental health problems are no easily recognized therefore making it difficult to be treated in the early stages.
Mental health not only affects our mental well being but also our physical health. It generally affects physical health, the two are related in a more complex and critical manner than most of us expect. Mental disorders have been identified as a high-risk factor that can be directly attributed to accidents, communicable diseases as well as non-communicable disease.
Poor mental health is directly linked to health issues such as bad eating habits, inactivity, and smoking and that is why Mental health should be a priority. . In addition, poor mental well-being increases the risk of stroke, heart diseases as well as hypertension. Most people with untreated mental illness end up committing suicide.
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In Kenya treatment for this illness is low as any cultures associate it with a curse and therefore the patients are not encouraged to seek treatment.
How to help a mental illness patient
When dealing with a person experiencing a mental health crisis, first look for any personal harm or suicidal behavior or thought. If the patient has caused any harm on their body administer first aid and if severer call for emergency medical help
As simple as it sounds, listening is critical as it helps to make the patient feel understood and accepted. As you listen include statements such as “ I care about you.” And “I understand you.” among others
Give the person emotional support. Depression is treatable, real and common, when helping a person experiencing a mental health crisis, talk with dignity, respect and show empathy. Do not blame the individual but show that you understand their concerns.
Encourage the person to seek professional help from counselors, physicians, therapist or visit a mental health support institution.
Encourage the patient to reach out to friends, family or faith communities for help. They can also incorporate self-help activities such as exercising reading of self-help books as well as relaxing training into their routine
Everyone in society needs to take a more active role in raising awareness and helping contain these diseases.
Improvement of mental health will improve physical health and well-being. As a nation, we need to act quickly and deal with awareness and treatment of mental disorders as it is becoming a silent killer.