Makueni medic narrates how he fought depression

Thursday, January 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Director Africa Mental Health Foundation David Ndetei, chair of the Mental Health Taskforce Frank Njenga, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and his wife Nazi when the taskforce paid a courtesy call on the governor in his office on Monday. Photo/KNA

Makueni Health Chief Officer Patrick Musyoki yesterday opened up about his struggle with depression during a public hearing of the Mental Health Taskforce formed to look into the status of mental health system.

Musyoki disclosed that he sought counselling after he sunk into depression because of  family and work related issues. ‘‘I suffered from anxiety for a long time which eventually spiralled into severe depression,” he said.

The CO said for days, he would not get out of bed and had curtains in his room drawn and even developed suicidal thoughts.

‘‘Depression is not for the poor as many people think, I suffered from it despite the fact that my wife and I are both medical doctors,’’ he confessed.

Musyoki, however, said he managed to seek help in good time.

In sharing his story, the soft spoken medic said he hoped to fight the stigma associated with mental health.

He noted that mental health was one of the most neglected sectors in the country saying the taskforce is a good opportunity to address the rising burden of mental health.

Top psychiatrist Dr. Frank Njenga decried lack of funding by both the national and county governments as the main challenge facing mental health care.

Counselling unit

He said mental health is not a priority agenda for both levels of government despite its integral role in development.

He underscored the need for the governments to set aside adequate resources as outlined in the Mental Health Policy.

Njenga, who is the chair of the taskforce formed by outgoing  Health CS Sicily Kariuki to look into the status of mental health was speaking at the St Joseph’s multipurpose hall during a public hearing. 

The psychiatrist, however, noted that despite the challenge of funding the country has made major strides in addressing mental health, which was in the past shrouded in mystery and stigma.

He termed the recommendations in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to establish a mental health wellness monitoring system as revolutionary and a major breakthrough in tackling mental health issues in the country.  -KNA 

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