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How to make mental health more than just a trending hashtag

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A few weeks ago a former schoolmate committed suicide and am still shocked because he was always happy and that’s the last thing I expected he would do, but then again you never know what people are going through even if they say they are well or on their social media pages they seem happy.

A few days ago Anthony Bourdain Celebrity Chef and CNN host committed suicide. He is among the many celebrities to commit suicide in recent times and maybe he won’t be the last. These sad occurrences are an indicator of deeper societal issues that are impossible to ignore.

Have I tried committing suicide in my life? Yes I have in fact, two times and it was the hardest time in my life and it was hard for me to even just get out of bed and I shut out the world completely. My family thought I was ok but every day I would cry myself to sleep. Before I going to see a counselor and learning how to deal with depression, I had many days where I could not get out of the house.

According to a report released last year by World Health Organization last year, Kenya was ranked sixth with the highest number of depression cases among African countries. Also WHO estimates a global suicide rate of one death every 40 seconds, which by 2020 they predict will increase to one every 20 seconds. More than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression and it is the leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. In terms of gender, women in Africa are affected by depression than men and the prevalence varies by regions.

Some of the signs of suicide to look out for are individuals talking or thinking about death all the time, trouble sleeping, having a death wish, and deep sadness), feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless. Open key communication channels with people close to you will help in dealing with depression and pressures from the society that we are constantly facing. I have learned when times get tough I can rely on a  friend to get my head straight. I also had to learn to let go of toxic people in my life and knowing when to walk away from toxic situations.

Trending hashtags are great to bring awareness to the importance of mental health, however, conversations are more meaningful. Mental health should no longer be a taboo in the society but instead should be an open conversation that can save more lives.

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