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Nanyuki
Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Monster Called Depression

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Today, I received some bad news, about the passing on of a dear friend. I feel ashamed to call my friend dear, because I saw my friend slowly die of depression and I did nothing.

It began some time back, when I noticed my friend stopped smiling. Though I noticed, I never asked what was wrong. We live in a day and age of everyone minding their own business. My friend’s well being should be my business.

Mental health is a key determinant of overall health and socio-economic development. It influences individual and community outcomes such as healthier lifestyles, better physical health, improved recovery from illness, fewer limitations in daily living, higher education attainment, greater productivity, employment and earnings, better relationships with adults and with children, more social cohesion and engagement and improved quality of life.

The Kenya Mental Health Policy (2015-2030)

Then I noticed my friend disappearing online. My friend stopped posting, was nowhere on social media. I never bothered to ask why, I was busy connecting with those who are active.

My friend stopped coming to Church, We used to sit together in Church, serve. I never followed up why the absence. “I don’t beg people to come to worship” I thought.


Depression is the world’s most common disease. Kenya ranked fourth in Africa with 1.9 million people suffering from the condition (WHO Report, 2014). According to the Kenya Mental Health Policy (2015-2030), cases of mental disorder continue to rise rapidly in Kenya.

A government-based Mental Health task force has released its schedule for public hearings where it expects members of the public to receive memoranda.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki formed the task force in compliance with a Cabinet resolution requiring it to evaluate Kenya’s mental well-being processes including legal, policy and administrative ecosystem to find areas that could benefit from reform for optimal delivery.

President Uhuru Kenyatta instructed the task-force to be formed in the face of rising depression and mental illness caused by suicide and murder.

As per the notice, Dr. Frank Njenga’s task-force will start off all its public hearing on January 13 in Meru with sessions.On January 14, 15 and 16, respectively, the team will move to Makueni, Eldoret, Nakuru. They will travel to Kakamega (17 January), Kisumu (20 January), Nyeri (21 January), Garissa (22 January) and finally Mombasa on 23 January.

On January 27, the Task Force will conclude its sessions in Nairobi, where they will retire to prepare their reports for further submission for implementation to the Ministry of Health.

However, the team is expected to understand critically the evolving social dynamics and related mental well-being challenges such as substance abuse, gambling, sexual and gender-based harassment, cyber bullying, child abuse and neglect.

However, the team is expected to understand critically the evolving social dynamics and related mental well-being challenges such as substance abuse, gambling, sexual and gender-based harassment, cyber bullying, child abuse and neglect.

Depression is the world’s most common mental disorder. The 2014 report of the World Health Organization placed Kenya fourth in Africa with 1.9 million people having the disease.


I started hearing stories about my friend, In fact, I ganged up with others to gossip about my friend. We gossiped as if we are experts of how my friend should live, I gossiped, instead of reaching out.

When I scrolled through my phone book list, I passed my friend’s contact. I waited for my friend to speak to me first, Knowing very well my friend seemed to be going through something. When my friend did call, I ignored.

I failed to reply the messages, too busy. Or maybe I thought my friend was calling to ask me for money, Based on the gossip I was told. I used to pray for my friend, But slowly I stopped. It appears that out of sight, Out of prayers.

Then today, I get told my friend has died. My friend all along was struggling, feeling alone, Yet all I did was nothing and make assumptions. My friend was stressed, depressed then committed suicide.

Here I am asked to give a speech at the funeral, Yet the tears I cry are for how I failed my friend when my friend was still living. My friend is not coming back for me to love them better.

Maybe if I cared things would have turned out different.

Look back and see the friends you have pushed away, ignored or taken for granted. Call up that old friend, care for the one who has gone silent.

People are going through so many issues behind those fake smiles and glossy social media posts; And all they need is a true friend. Be a true friend, Before it is too late.

Be a true Friend.

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