Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s spouse Pastor Dorcas Rigathi is worried that Africa is yet to embrace mental health as an issue affecting many in the society.
Speaking on Tuesday, September 19 at Daystar University in Nairobi on Tuesday, Pastor Dorcas expressed concern that most family members could not tell apart when their relative was suffering from a mental health disorder.
“Our culture in Africa has not appreciated matters mental health. Therefore, when you find a quarrelling mother, an angry parent, a shouting sister, all we say is they are mad and we give excuses saying that those people have no redemption, but we do not think deeper about their actions,” said Pastor Dorcas.
She added, “I maybe the second lady in the Republic of Kenya, but I can tell you, at one time and one point when I was in Kenyatta University, and because of circumstances at home I was also affected mentally. Mental health is real.”
Pastor Dorcas emphasized that it’s okay for the affected not to feel well urging them to always find someone to talk to.
“Even in that condition (Mental illness), if you can control and have a family that is supportive and a community around you that understands you it is possible to overcome and that condition becomes your platform to help others,“ she said.
CEO of MyAfya Africa, Nancy Kihara, who organized the forum said that mental health cuts across all in society, and the forum was an opportunity to support the cause of mental health.
“A family makes a society, and we must bring up strong families to have strong communities. We have seen university students facing many challenges and they experiment a lot, making such mental health forums of great urgency,” said Kihara.