Mental Health Issues during the Covid-19 pandemic: Edith Chibhamu.

Mental Health is one of the most overlooked and neglected topic throughout history in most African communities.

Many health policies throw a blind eye to this regardless of the solid necessity to address these issues.

This insanity is mostly compounded by three factors: ignorance about the extent of mental health problems, the transparent stigma that comes to those living with mental illness and controversial beliefs that mental illnesses is as a result of witchcraft therefore, cannot be treated. Truth be said, depression and anxiety exist and everyone is prone to experiencing this breakdown in their lifetime. It’s high time this issue crawls out of the shadows and be addressed.

I have received a lot of complaints from a lot of people of all ages, calling me day and night in relation to mental health issues. Throughout the past three months, the world has been at war with the Covid-19 pandemic. Towns and cities have been shut and most African countries like Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya are still under an intense monitored lockdown. People are being forced to stay at home with little or no physical contact with the outside world. The lockdown has worked as a way to compact the scourge of the virus but Experts unanimously agree that it has also had a groundbreaking impact on the nature of the mental health situation. Having the same routine with less movement can easily trigger anxiety, anger and constant sadness in people. Also, it gets worse taking into consideration that families are being forced to stay at home, without being provided enough basic needs including food and water.

In most states, there have been reports of an increased rate of domestic abuse and gender-based violence. Having to tolerate each other’s behaviors and attitudes with empty stomachs is unfortunately not going well for a lot of couples. Most people are going through this mental instability with no one to share their mental related problems and end up suffering from melancholic disposition.

Putting more emphasis on Africa as a continent, most native languages around the continent don’t even have the word for ‘anxiety’. The boundaries we set for ourselves on taking mental health as a serious issue has produced many consequences with one being an increased number of suicides.

Whilst we are taking the general precautions of social distancing and sanitizing during this Covid-19 lockdown pandemic, let’s not forget to take the following into consideration:

1.Check up on your neighbor, friends and family.
2.Talk to someone when you start feeling anxiety or depression its therapeutic.
3.Help others with basic commodities, your helping hand will save lives.
4.When you feel overwhelmed try to get some sleep and always get enough rest.
5.Always ask for help.
6.Book for a therapist if you can afford one.

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