5 things we can all do for Luanda Market and #mentalhealth in Kenya as a whole2:33:00 PM
On Saturday night, KTN did a feature story on Luanda Market and the alarming number of persons with mental health there (Their Standard people carried the story here). Residents attribute this to the use of bhang. Well I do this blog post because a lady sent me the following tweet;
@sitawa wafula, my home town #luanda has lots of mentally disturbed people. How can u save the situation
— Ketrey akoya (@ketryakoya) August 3, 2013
First of all, I would like to thank the fourth estate for the work they do in mental health reporting. Only an issue with the terms of reference, they are not mad people but persons with mental health disorders or conditions. That said, Luanda (and Kenya as a whole) needs;
1. Mental health sensitization
The Bible says my people perish for lack of knowledge. Several mental health sensitization programs emphasizing on community mental health should be done in the market area and its outskirts. The community needs to be taught to take responsibility of those among them and this in turn reduces stigma.
How I will help; I am accepting invitations to come do awareness drives and community mental health sessions in Luanda.
2. Drug and Substance Abuse interventions
Most of the residents blamed the increase of persons with mental health conditions in their midst to increased use of bhang. There is need for drug and substance abuse intervention in the area as there is a close inter-relation between mental health and drug abuse.
How I will help; Writing to my contact in NACADA covering Western Region to see if we can do a program.
3. Mental Health Services
Once the community is sensitized and the drug and substance abuse interventions done, there is need for a place where they can get medication and psychotherapy. The local health centre needs to provide mental health services and have a mental health practitioner on standby.
How I will help; I got the number of the Western Area Counselor from my good friend from Nyeri. I will get in touch with her and together we can draw a plan on how to keep mental health sensitization and services running in the area.
4. Government involvement
There is need for government involvement in all initiatives we bring down to the community because it is its responsibility above us all, our work is to compliment.
How I will help; Looking for MP, Chris Omulele’s contacts and see his response to the case and what measures he has in place to reduce the number of those getting into drugs and eventually getting mental health conditions.
This is not just a Luanda situation is a representation of the situation of what is happening across the country. Let us not wait for the media to highlight this situations but let us identify them in our communities and do something about them.