Youth aged 15-35 risk mental illnesses-medics

YOUTHS aged between 15 to 35 years are at the highest risk of suffering from mental illness due to biological, social media, family background and cultural reasons.

This was revealed over the weekend by a senior medical specialist in Psychiatry and Mental Health at Muhimbili National Hospital, Dr Saidi Kugande during the launching of ‘Unmask yourself’ campaign in Dar es Salaam organised by a non-governmental organisation dubbed ‘Marcus Mwemezi Foundation’ that aims at motivating people with mental problems to open up and talk about their challenges.

Dr Kugande noted that most of the youth covertly fail to express their problems and seek for help because of what people will say, thus leading them to bearing with the problem, which in turn tortures them for a long time and results into mental illness and madness.

“Mental health gets challenges but the most important thing is to open up…we usually say that ‘once you talk about it, you have it healed,” said the medic.

Advising the public on the disease, he urged people to open up,  be true and disclose their various problems to specific people they would be free to confine to, adding: “those they can trust and believe can help them without stigmatising them.”

Opening up at the event, one of the people who had mental health problems, Angel Mary Kato, a local musician said one keeping quiet with such a condition, especially in early stages would make one to think one is the only one suffering from the ailment, and this might delay healing once medics try to intervene.

“I suffered from this problem to the point that I even dared to commit suicide, I lived with depression for a long time, but this year I decided to open up through my platforms and people looked for me and rendered help…it is important to be kind to each other, listen to someone with empathy and that renders the needed help,” she pointed out.

On her part, a TV Talk show programme known as Dadaz presenter, Najma Paul who also suffered from the same problem said one of the biggest cases in increase in mental health illness is family members taking for granted and ignoring the symptoms, shown by a victim resorting to bullying and instead deal with him/her the wrong way.

“Let us join forces to reach out to people and help them. There is an impact in saving other people’s lives and it is high time Tanzanians start opening up. Look, instead people (read victims) would still commit suicide and others hurt themselves due to such circumstances.”

According to the World Mental Health Federation reports, one person in four people experience mental health difficulties, similarly one person in five adults in a workplace experiences mental health problems, and at the same time 10 per cent of workers use their work time for depression, an average of 36 days of work is lost due to depression.

The report also added that most people find it difficult to talk about the mental health challenges, especially the ones they experience in their workplaces.

However, according to health experts, 50 per cent of depressed people are not treated and that mental symptoms of depression occur 94 per cent of the time a person suffers from depression.

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