A million for Mental Health, please help.8:14:00 AM
|David, me and some of the users in their tomato green house.|
Morning Beautiful People,
So today I didn't wake up at 3a and am feeling a little guilty but after that 5day marathon, I needed to rest. If you haven't been following, last week I coordinated the International Day to End violence against sex workers (see mwili wangu, chaguo langu post) then we had the Mental Health young advocates end year meeting on Saturday,Sunday I was busy doing module for workshops both poetry and mental health and yesterday I visited the Lower Kabete and Nyandarua South mental health clinics and I have a Prisons Christmas Party to pull in four days so I am justified to be doing this blog from my bed.
End of October this year, I did a post on the World Mental Health day and the campaign which we launched and the Minister for Medical Services Anyang' Ny'ong'o said he will be proud to be lead ambassador and champion for Persons with Mental Illnesses *another star to our campaign* Currently in Kenya,there is no Mental Health Policy and the Act is outdated. As a PMI(Person with Mental Illness) and Ambassador for Mental Health , it is among my duties to know what is happening in the country and what needs to be done.
- First of all we need a policy and to push for that we need a million signature on a petition that will see what the stakeholders have drafted discussed and taken to parliament. Among the things we are pushing for is for more funds to be allocated to Mental Health which currently get a percentage (around 0.01%) of the funds that go to Health. With that in place drugs will be affordable, hopefully more health workers will want to work in the field and research can be done on the high prevalence level and stigma campaigns launched. If you follow me on twitter you know how irritating I get when am not on medication and tweet things that make you whisper a prayer for me.*appreciate the love though,mwaah*
- Secondly we need to create awareness hence the launch of the One Mind,Lend your voice campaign. If you have read my posts, my seizure affair and the four part series of my name is Sitawa and I am mentally ill, I bet you learnt a thing or two. I know people have called me or emailed talking about relatives or just the fact that they know what to do when someone has an epilepsy attack near them. But we need advocates, I would love to travel the country as I did yesterday but why not share the pie? I am currently working on a module for advocates so that we can recruit more people and have them start clubs in their schools,churches and places of work I lost my job because I kept falling on clients, we need to get to those corporates and educate them.
- Thirdly, despite all the clowning going around, I believe that the youth are focused and want to see Kenya developed not developing. I can name young people who are focused,have their own thing running and they make me believe Vision 2030 may not be just a vision after all. But we can not have a developed nation if the people running it are unhealthy; an unhealthy mind leads to an unhealthy body, depression, ADHD, Bipolar all those are mental illnesses that are mostly overlooked. During my trip to Nyandarua yesterday, I met a young girl my age who gets seizures, and depression but because of misdiagnosis and stigma associated with mental illnesses especially due to ignorance, she is living her life at less than 20%. She has the skills, she gave me a beautiful all-beaded bag that I didn't put down for the rest of the trip. Her mother who is part of the people displaced by the PEV got into depression and life was really bad until she realized the damage it is doing to her and her family. She got on medication and did the same for her girl who they say is getting better and when she saw me she didn't believe I get seizures, I sat with her and told her about days I cant get out of bed, of all the days you hear me talk about on twitter, when i miss performances, when i fell on stage when performing at Paragasha 2, she looked at me and told me,'wait I have something for you'. She had seen someone her age, who despite it was something and someone in society. That is when she went and brought the bag for me. It is my symbol to fight even harder.
That family has helped break stigma and together with other users they have a green house where they plant tomatoes and use the money to buy more drugs and support each other. They first got to know, then accepted their condition and now influence and if you have been following that is the module I used. It took me forever to actually know and that is why society needs to be sensitized so that they don't come with all this witchcraft stories, we need advocates for that, register, we then need money for drugs or alternative treatment, the mental health policy will do that, sign the petition, lastly stop the stigma, get informed and pass this to a friend or family member.
Have a healthy day,