KITUO JOINS WORLD TO CELEBRATE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
Kituo Cha Sheria through its Mental Health and Psychological Support program on Thursday, 9th October 2019 joined the world and partner organizations dealing with refugees in marking this this year’s World Mental Health Day with suicide prevention being the main focus of this year’s event to highlight the role of the community in identifying and preventing suicide. The event took place at the Agape Light Church in Umoja III, Nairobi. The day which was set aside by the World Federation for Mental Health was first celebrated in 1992 and aims to educate and raise awareness of mental health issues.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year; this translates to one person every 40 seconds. WHO also notes that although suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. These statistics prove that suicide is a global public health problem that requires the attention of all in the society.
Present at the day’s activity included representatives of several organizations including- the United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR), HIAS Kenya, RefuSHE, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya; among others. Participants who were mainly refugees and asylum seekers living in Nairobi engaged with mental health experts through open group discussions where an array of issues were discussed including the causes leading to suicide and how to prevent the same.
Studies have shown that Asylum seekers and refugees are more likely to experience poor mental health than the local population including higher rates of depression which could lead to higher suicide incidences. The increased vulnerability to mental health problems that refugees and asylum seekers face is linked to pre-migration experiences such as war trauma and post-migration conditions such as separation from family, difficulties with asylum procedures and poor housing. For this reason, Kituo and partner organizations found it important to target refugees and asylum seekers in this year’s activity to create awareness.
With mental health issues being so widespread in the population, it is extremely important to raise awareness, support those around you that are suffering from a mental health problem, and to seek help if you feel you are suffering from any form of mental illness or mental health problem. Kituo believes that a greater awareness goes a long way in contributing to identifying and helping those in need, and breaking down the social stigmas and barriers to support.