World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year. This day aims to create awareness about mental health issues. The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is Mental health in an unequal world.
Mental health or psychological disorders are quite common nowadays. Surveys suggest that around 14% of the population suffers from a psychological disorder.
The most common mental health disorders are depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. They can be seen across different stages in an individual’s lifespan.
However, depression, anxiety and eating disorders may be more commonly seen in women whereas substance abuse is more common in men. The elderly may be more prone to depressive disorders. The underprivileged and uneducated population may however be more prone to psychological disorders. In children, an additional category of disorders such as developmental disorders occur, including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.
Listed below are a few tell-tale signs of mental disorder.
- Sleep disturbances: Some people may have increased sleep, while some might have increased sleep.
2. Appetite: Some might eat less, however, many might eat more. Stress eating is extremely common, particularly, sweets and chocolates.
3. Mood Disturbance: Persistent sadness, persistent anxiety, dip in energy levels, irritable behaviour, easily triggered, easy fatigue, overthinking, negative thinking, crying spells.
4. Attention deficit, confusion, inability to take the decision.
5. Suicidal thoughts in more severe cases.
6. Heart palpitations.
8. Gastrointestinal problems such as acidity, burning, bloating, nausea, pain in the upper abdominal area, diarrhoea and constipation.
9. Difficulty in breathing.
In terms of coping mechanisms, different people deal with stress in unique ways. However, the most impactful is timely and the right amount of sleep and nutrition. Exercise is also known as an effective stress buster. Around 30-40 minutes of exercise per day does wonders for the body and mind.
Other coping practices include meditation, social connectivity and interactions. Sharing and venting can be activities that take out half the stress out of the equation. People are therefore encouraged to be firm about impossible tasks and take care of their bodies through regular exercise and other recommended coping mechanisms.
In June this year, the Ministry of Health in Kenya launched the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan (2021-2025) to promote mental health among citizens. Through the plan, mental health and psychosocial support will be integrated into the emergency and humanitarian response especially in the response to COVID-19 pandemic as well as the long-term recovery strategy