Mental Health: Why little has been done about this important health issue

Mental Health: Why little has been done about this important health issue

The effects of the Covid 19 pandemic still linger around as the world takes on several measures to return to normality. Reports have been written about how the Pandemic opened people’s eyes across all sectors.

Businesses and education had to come up with new measures to cope with the Pandemic. Unfortunately, nothing much was done in terms of Mental Health despite the vast amount of monies spent on health.

What exactly is Mental Health?

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health is a state of being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his/her community.

It should be noted that Mental Health is more than the absence of Mental disorders. This means despite the fact that one may not have mental disorders, he/she may still be suffering from mental health, an aspect that is often overlooked by the community.

Common causes of Mental Health

Depression and anxiety disorders are among the most popular cases of Mental Health. Stress issues such as Post Traumatic stress disorder, substance, and alcohol use.

Bipolar disorders and many more cases make the list of issues that destabilize mankind’s Mental Health.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health

Despite being cases of Mental Health, depression and anxiety still come in handy in helping identify the signs and symptoms of Mental Health.

Struggling to sleep. Individuals who have witnessed traumatic events often find it difficult to have sleep as comfortably as they would like.

Focusing on a given task is something challenging for people who have Mental Health issues such as anxiety and stress.

Feelings of sadness. This is common, especially after great loss and other events that leave one in ultimate sadness and agony.

Causes of Mental Health issues

According to WHO, the following are some of the most common causes of Mental Health issues:

Rapid social changes such as the Covid 19 pandemic. A number of people had difficulty adjusting to this social change and the result saw them experience some of the mental health issues like depression.

Stressful work environment. A number of employees face it rough with their employers. To make matters worse, the job market has become so competitive that the employer is ready to do away with employees who may fall short of standards.

Gender discrimination. Although in this century this is being fought against tooth and nail and there is tangible progress, some few societies still have gender discrimination. This can lead to stress and other related mental health issues.

Social exclusion and unhealthy lifestyle. Lifestyles that include alcohol and substance abuse are definitely going to have an adverse effect on one’s mental health.

Physical ill-health. A good number of people when ill often feel out of place and are full of anxiety. Stress comes in when one is utterly ill but has no hopes of finding the money to clear the enormous medical bills.

Human rights violation acts such as denial of the right to express oneself can also lead to several mental health issues.

What has been done so far in the Mental Health sector in Uganda in particular?

To begin with, there have been decades of underinvestment in mental health. In fact, there is no comprehensive summary of the impacts of Mental Health issues apart from the available briefs.

Early March 2022, the word was spread of how Juliet Nakku, the Butabika National Referral Hospital Executive Director had met Uganda Parliament’s Health Committee to discuss the inclusion of Mental Health in the Public Health ( Amendment ) Bill (2021).

Dr . Nakku has gone ahead to Lobby that bill to label Mental Health in a more befitting category other than the current “ communicable disease “ label

Researchers at Makerere University and two other universities in the United States earlier on in March this year started a $3.3 million study.

The study dubbed as “ Topowa Project “ aims at examining whether giving young women vocational and entrepreneurship skills can maintain them in a good mental state.

WHO goes ahead to give recommendations on what can be done to combat mental health issues in the world as a whole. These include early childhood intervention, support to children for instance through life skills programs, social-economic empowerment of women, social support for the elderly people, raising awareness, violence prevention programs among others.

Mayende Collins Israel

Contributor, The Postdale Daily

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