KENYA: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT DEPRESSION
I decided to do a search to see what's on the web about depression in Kenya; mainly blogs or opinionated articles. A quick google search led me to an NGO's website with the intention of helping mentally ill Kenyans, but it hasn't been updated since last year. Other sites that showed up were journals with someone's research or a couple of archived news articles earlier this year on depression stats. But these didn't really help much. Most of the statistics weren't recent or detailed. I eventually stumbled upon Tabitha, who writes a blog of all things health in Kenya at Kenya Health, and Eve, who's behind Mind Conversations blog. While not laying down facts or stats about mental illnesses, their blogs open up for conversation. Eve's post, Broken, is such a vulnerable firsthand account on her awakening to depression, it's truly moving. CHECK. IT. OUT. She writes about other life experiences while dealing with depression.
I'm shocked at the lack of credible google results and not at the same time. I feel like Kenya is a country that doesn't truly have a solidified identity. We tend to copy from a lot of different cultures and societies, and try claim theirs as ours. Our food, traditional clothing (does that really exist anymore besides the Maasai shuka and jewelry?), policies and law, and so-called values have all been influenced by other cultures. (Not saying this is 100% bad or 100% good, it's just an observation.) I think what makes a person original is who they are.
We're not very open about our shortcomings, thus not addressing or accepting our problems. You can identify as broken, in fact, a lot of people do, but at least claim it rather than gloss over it. I just want to see more Kenyans being open about the hard things that are considered shameful or disgraceful to be said out loud. Like, please say it out loud! There are so many people out there who need to know that they are not suffering alone and are not freaks for living in a society that's not safe for them to truly share their unfortunate experiences or feelings.
How many times do we hear stories of kids killing themselves after their exam marks come out (in the newspaper for the public to see by the way 🤔)? And how are we addressing this issue or dealing with it? I wish there were more of us out here who could open up and be real about the depth to which depression and other disorders affect us. That's why I loved Eve's post so much, because she was authentic, and the comments on her post from Kenyans was incredible. We need more of that - forums where people can see a problem, share it, understand it, acknowledge it, have a different perspective on it, and respond to it.
PLEASE Kenya, let's talk about this!