Are Kenyan men going to accept depression is real? Neither look it nor can’t figure out what is eating them up. According to recent online video/stories there is a big surge of violence and suicide amongst the men, even forcing the intervention of President to address the stigma. Well, majority of men think they are just ‘having a bad day’ while in essence, they are depressed and unempowered. How is the community going to deal with this?
With a country suffering from a huge unemployment rate, loneliness, broken homes ,gender violence and raisings women empowerment, men health issue are underepresented or undereported. And they are suffering in deep, dark silence. Many Kenyan men lack access to resources to treatment of depression. They lack empowerment, feel neglected or dejected, and taken advantage of, the economy is depressed thus they have lost interest in their lives and jobs and some find it extremely difficult to wake up in the morning to go and hustle. A good number force themselves to show up to work because they have mouths to feed and bills to pay. But deep in their heart they carry pain.
Many of them are battling low self-esteem and they can’t quite shake off the idea that they are underachievers compared with their more successful friends or spouses. They are battling thoughts of failure at work, poor family interaction, poor health issues, bad marriages and sour relationships — all alone with nobody to share with. They internalize this failures building a mountain of problem after problems contemplating suicide. The government needs to act now and look for pathway community solutions.
Lack of sleep.
Long after their wives or girlfriends have fallen asleep beside them, these men find themselves struggling to find sleep — you will find them wide awake at 3am, not watching football, but staring into the dark ceiling in deep thinking, wondering when all this will ever end.
They have poor concentration. It is not that they do not want to pay attention to what is being said in that meeting at work; it is just their minds are a tornado of much thoughts, painful, sad and hopeless thoughts, making them wonder if at all life is worth living. They are often tired, chronically fatigued and even when they finally sleep, they wake up extremely tired because they went to sleep but never really got enough rest.
The interesting thing is that it is difficult to point out a depressed man, especially because they are the most put-together people around us. They are in homes, offices, business or in in churches. If we are serious about putting an end to depression, we must be aware of the two sides of this coin.
With so many men linked to depression unware, the country needs a comprehensive and strategic plan— in particular to fix the depressed men — and the mental health in Kenya need to act, and get to the bottom of the root of the cause?.
Some doctors are suggesting that Kenya needs to open her channels of communication and get serious about mental health in the same way we are serious about HIV/Aids and cancer. Because mental health is cancer in its own right — cancer to today’s busy society —Kenya needs to mobilize it citizens before men become statistics. Community and especially men need a space to talk more about depression — especially among men only— and make it okay for a man to admit that he is not okay.
We need more counsellors on the ground. We need them affordable and we must have call centres, mobile clinics, and safe houses where men who are on the brink of giving up can walk in and say, “I need help” without being considered less of a man. We also need more male survivors of depression to come out in public and share their powerful stories from that depression is real, but most importantly, manageable.
There is no two ways about this folks, We can’t afford to wait for long, the fight begins with accepting the status quo and the mainstreaming of mental health dialogue.