The 3rd Mental Health Stakeholder’s Legislation Review meeting – Part 3 (Why mental health issues are everyone’s issues)

4:25:00 PM

Where you all come in;
i) There is need for public participation in this sector
As highlighted in the other four parts of this series, everyone is a stakeholder. I am a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, a BFF, a cousin and the list goes on. Everyone around me is affected by my well being one way or another. Having the knowledge of different aspects of this Bill and Policy and the role Mental Health has to play in our nation is a vital key to development.

ii) One in every four persons has a mental illness or is on their way to getting one which in every family unit (mother, father, daughter, son) there is someone with it or on their way for they too are stakeholders in this process. They need to know that mental illnesses are not just about walking in the street picking papers. They need to know the signs and symptoms because in our support group forums, we hear loads of misdiagnosis issues.As pointed out the issue of training came out clear , every doctor needs basic mental health training. The symptoms knowledge also helps parents because there are cases where they beat their children for getting into drugs yet their is an interrelation between mental health, drug abuse and sexual hyperactivity Also being in an African setting, there are calls for witchcraft, I hear the most ridiculous myths when I do youth group talks, ignorance elimination, how to help someone when they get a seizure attack that is what we would like to be readily available to all.
iii) Human rights angle - there are cases of persons with mental health being thrown out of vehicles, cases like those reported on CNN where they are chained We are closely working with the KNCHR and they launched a book on the same, I can get you a copy if you are interested. We would like people to send that information to us and the commission in an easy way, 

iv) Psycho-social support - Everyone with a mental illness needs this. I have my family and a BFF who understand me and with that I can be anyone or anything I want as long as I have the strength, my seizure attacks numb my legs. At the end of the day, we all have a part to play in Nation development. I am a rape survivor so I help a lot of women go through their trauma and live on, I am a poet, who hosts and does workshops hence creating employment and giving a voice to a generation, I am all that and so much more and everyone with a mental illness is the same.They need to know what they are going through, need to sit with those before them, they need love, care, support like anyone else and psycho-social groups come in handy here. If this information is readily available, suicide cases among those with mental illnesses and others will reduce because one of the common reasons is no one understands what is happening in me or I cannot explain what I am going through. PEV and even the recent flooding leave many frustrated and depression rates will shoot, so beside the infrastructure loss, human resource input will decline which in turn affects the economy.If we go by  the statistics, as a nation, because of not caring for 25% of our population (1 in every 4), all our output and projections are minus 25%.

v) Election year - I am eligible to vote and I know many others with mental illnesses who can but the IEBC has no data on us, they have no voter education for persons with mental illness. Not that we want any special treatment but in most cases, we are considered unfit to take part yet it is our constitutional right to participate. We have decided that if a candidate running for office has no agenda for mental health they are no worth our time, not because we live with it but to prevent increase of the 25%, for national development, for a generation that will be wiped out because they scored less than parents and societal expectations or wiped out die to the interrelations between HIV/AIDs and Substance abuse, who is talking to and about this 25%?

I think I have preached enough for one post…remember to catch me this Saturday from 9a on Ghetto Radio, 89.5 FM discussing the legislation, you can stream live on

Bipolar support group meeting from 10am, this Saturday at IMAC, 5th Floor Tumaini House behind Kencom. I will be there immediately after my radio talk.

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