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Dorcas Rigathi: The family unit should be the foundation of mental wellness

Pastor Dorcas Rigathi.

Pastor Dorcas Rigathi has emphasized the crucial role of families in nurturing mental health.

Speaking during a Mental Wellness and Counselling Conference in Nairobi, Pastor Dorcas expressed regret that in Africa, mental wellness is not yet understood especially in the family set-up.

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“In Africa, mental health is not understood especially in the family set-up. When you find quarrelling parents, a shouting sister, a violent brother, or an angry aunt or uncle, we justify their behavior and do not think deeper about the reason behind their actions. Sometimes we isolate them which further aggravates their health condition,” Pastor Dorcas said.

“Our children fear family conflicts, they fear a separation of their parents. That can be the beginning of depression among children. We need to have strong family values and deal with mental wellness at the family level. Speak with care and love to your children, speak success to their lives,” she added

Pastor Dorcas further called on employers to be in the forefront in the mental wellness of their employees for a productive nation and the private sector.

“Not a single manager, director or a CEO should imagine that a mental health case is far from them. If work places are not safe places, we will never feel safe anywhere. Because work places are where we stay longer than even our homes. I therefore encourage all employers to take care of their employees. Let all employees feel safe, heard and cared for,” she said.

According to Prof Dr Tammary Esho, who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic affairs Amref International University at least 2Million Kenyans are suffering from depression with men being hard hit compared to women at a ratio of 3:1. She also expressed concerns over increased cases of the youth at the age of 10-24 Years suffering from depression at 10.3%.

Prof Esho further noted that at last 10,000 police officers in the country have been reported to be suffering from depression while health workers and journalist are among those hit by work related depressions.

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse(NACADA) AG CEO Prof.John Muteti praised the steps taken by Pastor Dorcas in the fight against drugs and substance abuse especially at the Coast region which has been hard hit by the use of hard drugs.

Prof Muteti saying a recent report by NACADA revealed an increased in the use of cannabis (Bhang) in the country.

Prof Muteti said the numbers have doubled in the last 5 Years accusing some politicians of  glorifying the taking and using of cannabis.

“Cannabis actually a big worry to us, because in the last 5 years we have seen the rate of smoking cannabis double. This is because of the myth around it across the world with its legalization in some countries. However, we must stand against this,” he said.

In the recent report NACADA noted alcohol as the most abused drug and substance across the country at slightly above 10%, Tobacco at 8% and Bhang at 2%.

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