MENTAL HEALTH in AFRICA

MENTAL HEALTH in AFRICA

Mental health is a more sensitive topic to me today than it was more than seven years ago. I had often heard of mental health but I never understood it in the sense that I do today. This takes me to 2017. A close relative had an experience that took the entire family off balance. This was all so strange to us and at that moment we thought it could be anything else other than a mental health issue.

She was diagnosed with what the doctor referred to as bipolar disorder. In the days leading to the event, her hyperactive actions were considered to be anything but a mental health issue. This was the first time I heard of bipolar disorder. I realised mental illness is real. I also realised many people have no idea of what mental illness is and how to handle those suffering from it in its various forms and capacities. Mental health is critical to every human person. It is important to be keen on our mental health as well as that of those around us. Caring for your mental health is important in avoiding or reducing mental illness and its effects.

In this article, I wish to take the discussion of mental health from an African perspective. I will discuss the cultural perspectives in understanding mental health and also more importantly, the gaps within the health systems in Africa in response to mental health issues.


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