A section of medical practitioners in Murang’a County are calling on members of the community to make mental health and wellness a priority.
Murang’a Director for Health Dr, James Mburu observed that issues surrounding mental health and wellness have been ignored for a long time saying it is time mental health is given the much-needed attention considering its negative impact to the society.
Dr Mburu, a psychiatrist, who speaking during a walk to create awareness on mental health at Murang’a County referral hospital said that a lot of sensitization is needed to help the community have a better understanding on issues surrounding the matter to curb increasing cases of mental illnesses.
“The aim of the walk is to sensitize the community on mental health, mental disorders and drug and substance abuse,” he said adding that mental illnesses are affecting all groups of people in the society indiscriminately, regardless of gender or socioeconomic status.
Dr. Mburu noted that it’s paramount that people look out for signs and symptoms of mental illness and seek treatment early at the nearest health facility.
“Symptoms to look out for include extreme mood changes, major changes in sleep patterns, loss of appetite or overeating, social withdrawal, lack of sleep, poor hygiene, hallucination, feeling of sadness and despair,” he said adding that the symptoms vary depending on the type of mental disorder.
The psychiatrist noted that family members and the society in general should offer the necessary social and psychological support in addition to helping victims get professional help.
“Awareness of mental health issues allows for early detection of mental illnesses thus early intervention measures,” he averred.
On his part, psychiatrist nurse at Murang’a referral hospital John Wagoki Mbuthia said that drugs and substance abuse was the leading cause of mental illnesses especially in the county.
“People addicted to alcoholism and those who abuse other forms of drugs like marijuana are said to exhibit symptoms of mental illness,” he said, divulging that the county has a serious challenge of alcoholism.
He further said that mental illness affects daily living and functioning of an individual and in extreme cases may lead to suicide and or homicide, repeated psychiatric admission, poor relationships and inability to take care of oneself leading to dependency.
Mbuthia revealed that about 10 percent of mental cases lead to suicide stressing: “Patients who are mentally ill are at a high risk of committing suicide and therefore, should be urgently attended to.”
By Anita Omwenga