Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Home > Counties > Climate change can trigger or cause mental problems, says psychologist

Climate change can trigger or cause mental problems, says psychologist

A Nakuru city based psychologist has said climate change can trigger depression in people with a genetic predisposition for the disorder.

Dr. David Maina, a psychologist revealed even those who don’t have the risk might develop stress’s high-risk coping behaviours such as increased alcohol consumption and anxiety.

He said mental health problems such as psychosis and depression are slowly taking over as the leading diseases not only in the country, but also worldwide.

Speaking to KNA from his office at the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru complex, Maina said according to last year’s statistics from the Ministry of Health, 5.7 per cent of all illnesses are attributed to mental health diseases.

However, the psychologist said the figure is a gross underestimation of the true burden of these illnesses, considering that most people with mental problems do not seek medical care.

He noted that the country has about 100 psychiatrists most of whom are based in or near Nairobi, with less than half of them working in public hospitals. “This means that specialized mental health care is scarce and many people requiring treatment cannot access it,” he noted.

In addition, Maina said people with mental health illnesses are shunned and stigmatized by their communities.

A volunteer community health worker at Rongai Constituency, Ruth Rono, concurred with the expert’s sentiments regarding such patients being dishonored and humiliated.

She added that she spends a lot of time persuading relatives to take their mentally sick relatives to the hospital and extend humane support to them. But, she claimed, a number of them are still neglected by their immediate families.

Rono appealed to communities to extend support and especially foodstuffs to families with mental health patients since food scarcity makes their conditions worse and might lead to more violence and unnecessary injuries.

Currently, the country is grappling with food shortage due to prolonged drought, attributed to climate change, and an estimated four million people are facing starvation.

Rongai Sub-County is one of the semi-arid areas in Nakuru County that has a serious food shortage.

By Veronica Bosibori

Leave a Reply