Mental Health Awareness Month : Your Mind Matters!!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to fostering understanding and support for mental well-being. As society increasingly recognizes the importance of mental health, this month serves as a crucial reminder to reflect on our own mental health, support those struggling with mental health issues, and advocate for more accessible and effective mental health care. By breaking the stigma and encouraging open conversations, we can create a more compassionate and informed community where mental health is prioritized and everyone feels empowered to seek help.

Mental Health Month
Strengthening our Mental health Awareness response

Mental health. It is more than just the absence of problems. It is about feeling good, thinking clearly, and thriving in life. However, sometimes things get tough. We all experience challenges that can throw our mental well-being off balance.

The good news? We are not alone. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people in Kenya will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.

Understanding Mental Health: It’s All About You

So, what exactly is mental health? It is a combination of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Common Concerns: Let’s Talk About It

Mental health conditions come in many forms. Some of the most common include:

Anxiety disorders: Constant worry, fear, or nervousness that can interfere with daily life. Mood disorders: Feeling down, hopeless, or irritable for extended periods. This could be depression, bipolar disorder, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Schizophrenia: A serious brain disorder that can cause hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking.

What Causes Mental Health Issues?

There isn’t a single answer. It can be a combination of factors, like:

Genetics: Some mental health conditions can run in families.

Brain chemistry: An imbalance of brain chemicals can play a role.

Life events: Trauma, loss, or stress can trigger mental health problems.

Taking Care of Yourself: Building Resilience

The good news is there are steps we can all take to strengthen our mental health:

  • Talk it out: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or doctor. Bottling things up can make things worse.
  • Stay positive: Focus on the good things in your life, no matter how small. Gratitude can be a powerful tool.
  • Move your body: Exercise is a great way to combat stress and improve mood. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s a brisk walk or dancing in your living room.
  • Fuel your body: Eat a healthy diet to nourish your brain and body.
  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
  • Connect with others: Strong social connections are essential for mental well-being.
  • Find your purpose: Having a sense of meaning in life can be a powerful buffer against stress.
  • Develop coping skills: Learn healthy ways to manage stress, like meditation or deep breathing exercises.

Remember, you are not alone. There is no shame in seeking help. By talking openly about mental health, we can create a more supportive and understanding world.

Let us keep the conversation going! Share your tips for staying mentally well in the comments below.

Mount Kenya University is committed to ensuring all students have an enabling environment for their well-being. Additionally, The Counseling Center office is open at all times to help. Kindly make use of the office.

Article by: Heri Manyara