The Spouse of the Deputy President Pastor Dorcas has urged Kenyans not to stigmatise those suffering from mental illnesses.
Speaking during a youth forum dubbed Sikika Youth Fest at the Mt.Kenya University in Thika Pastor Dorcas expressed concerns over continued stigmatisation towards those suffering from mental illnesses.
“What we are trying to do is doing sensitisation, so that people do not stigmatise those suffering. We start to talk demystify mental illness so that those suffering can have the courage to talk to anyone around them,” she said
She further called on universities and institutions of higher learning in the country to introduce deans and counselors in the institutions.
“I look forward to where every university will have a dean and counselors to speak to our students, where students can get some help,” she said
In her recent visit to Miritini Rehabilitation Centre in Mombasa County at least 60 % of the recovering addicts confessed to be university student and drop outs.
“Mental health and drugs are robbing out country a future generation. This is a global crisis.
And as the boychild champion am more concerned because the male gender -who is the boychild report more cases of mental health and suicide,” she said
“I will speak about the boychild until they hear me. As a mother I will speak until the whole world hears. Because the boychild is important. I know when I advocate for my boychild case, am advocating for my girlchild. The boy is the seed carrier. Both must be brought up together and must be equally valued,” she noted
The forum brought together university students from various institutions under the theme SIKIKA, TUBONGE, TUSIFICHE.
During the forum Pastor Dorcas shared her story on suicidal thoughts back in her Kenyatta University days. She says she had contemplated suicide when a gas cylinder she had bought for her mother exploded burning their neighbour’s children.
It is a situation that led her to regrets on why she had bought the gas cylinder. It is out during the time that a friend requested her to accompany them to go to see the then President Daniel Arap Moi in his Kabarnet Gardens residence.
Pastor Dorcas says when they arrived at the President’s residence, she tried to run towards the president to be shot dead by the President’s security team.
Pastor Dorcas called on the youth to speak out when depressed.
“You must speak to one another; you must find someone to lean on. And we must offer shoulders to one another. Do not keep those things to yourself,” she said
Under her office Pastor Dorcas has been advocating for establishment and revival of many rehabilitation centers.
“In the counties we are settling up rehabilitation centers so that we can rehabilitated people who need help. And with the help of NHIF it will be easier and accessible to all,” she said
Mt.Kenya University Co-Founder Dr.Jane Nyutu expressed concerns over the young age which the youth are getting into mental disorder and depression noting that many are getting into such due to peer pressure.
“We have the culture of ‘sponsorship’ that has rendered our youth desperate in their future lives. Not forgetting the celebrity culture, many want to live like someone they have seen. Many young people are falling into the trap of celebrity status,” she said
“Many of our young people have fallen into stress and depression when they feel they are different from others,” she added