In the last couple of years, I would say mental health has been one of the most addressed issues, and that’s a milestone I am glad to witness. But although this has been the case, there’s still more that desires to be done. Mental health is a condition that the majority of Africans have labelled the white man disease or rather the rich people disease. It is fair to say that these are stereotypes that the majority Africans believe in. And this belief, is not helping at all, as many people will be lost due to the fact that society doesn’t believe in mental health as a disease. As this is the suicide prevention month, I therefore decided that I highlight some of the things mental health advocates tend to ignore or forget and maybe this way, we’ll have  better ways  to handle this. They include the following;

The fact that no one discusses treatment or mental health issues in adults as though they don’t experience it, makes me; where do they go or what happens when they are going through their bad days? Unless I am mistaken and mental health affects us youth only. This is a statement a friend of mine made while we talked about mental health. So many workshops have been  made in regards to the problem but I’ve honestly not seen one discussing mental health issues affecting parents. Parents are the firm foundation of home building. As children, we are going to always ask for help from our parents. These our our earthly gods who’ve given up their all just to raise us. Have you thought about the fact that sometimes they don’t even know what to tell you? Sometimes they’re not even sure of what you’ll eat, or if you’ll have what to wear, but still show you that everything is okay.

Marriage is not easy and so the majority have fled from it. Our traditional cultures in Africa don’t entertain this and this has pushed most people to continue to stay in broken homes. This has not even on one day made them rethink their love for you. It’s a whole lot and more. I wish mental health advocates taught us more on how to help our parents in such times or how to identify they’re going through tough times, because they need people to talk to in as much as they are encouraging the young generation. No one ever reminds us of keeping the secrets we shared with those dealing with mental health conditions. When most of us were young, we usually had our closest allies with whom we shared our secrets. They usually vowed never to let out the cat out of the bag but later did so without our knowledge and in no time, our secret was now a world secret.

During times when people are suffering from mental breakdowns or from just trouble, they have their confidants. The ugly truth is that they usually go behind our backs and spread our secret. Sometimes this has an effect on the one suffering. I we are reminded each day that some people choose to keep things to themselves because they don’t believe anyone is going to help them. If you’re not sure you can help one go through such difficult times, please don’t make an attempt of causing more harm. I also hope mental health advocates preach this more often. People aren’t talking about or finding out the root causes of mental health issues. Like personal patterns and behaviors that cause what leads to poor mental health. One crucial thing I’ve noticed is that people advocating for it usually talk about it as a whole. They’re not sure if they’re talking  to someone who’s already damaged, or are advising someone before they get to that terrible stage.

Now the issue with this is we’re not helping those that have been damaged because we don’t know their condition. A better way of passing on this information would be the best alternative. Also, we all seem to forget adverse effects of mental health advocacy. It’s like how cancer synchronizes, most times you don’t feel the sickness or the effects until you get diagnosed with it. Same thing with poor mental health, the more it’s advocated for, the more people accept to be okay with it.  An interesting thing about this is that it is debatable.  What mental health advocates need to remind us more of is the fact that we need to go for mental health checkups. Africa is still a growing continent when it comes to mental health ideas, so I think the major task to mental health advocates would be to advocate for more mental health checkups among the people.

The society needs to be reminded of the role they can play in ensuring our friends and colleagues don’t fall in to the pits of such trauma. You and I have a role to play.  This way, we can get rid of most of the mental health challenges that come our way. There’s plenty of things going on right now in the world. People are losing those they hold dear to their hearts, while others are losing jobs or being paid half the salary. Bills still have to be paid, the children must study and everything must just fall into place. It’s still a difficult time for most of us and due to this, we’re falling victims of bad mental health.

This is a reminder that me and you can be a mental health advocate by just listening to the other party or recommending they see a mental health expert. May we always be reminded that we have a role to play.