Dear Entrepreneur, How Do You Take Care of Your Mental Health?

By Lynnet Okumu / Published October 7, 2021 | 12:48 pm




KEY POINTS

Mental health instability is even worse at the workplace where the impact has serious consequences not only for the individual but also for the productivity of the enterprise.


mental health

Mental health is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.

It is a disorder that is characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought, and/or behavior that affect individuals to the extent that social integration becomes problematic

Mental health also includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

It’s very important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood to know the status of your mental health.

Throughout your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.

There is a growing concern in Kenya over the shocking rise in the number of suicides since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.

According to the Kenya police, more than 500 people have been reported to have killed themselves since the beginning of the year 2021.

The head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, (DCI), George Kinoti, said that they have never recorded such a high number of suicides before and added that it is not only an alarming matter but one that calls for urgent remedial measures.

No reasons have been given for the increase by the Kenyan authorities but a report published in June by the World Health Organization (WHO) said: “Suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship breakup or chronic pain and illness.”

It added that in 2019, “over 77% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries”.

Last year the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said 1,442 Kenyans attempted suicide between 2015 and 2018, which it said were conservative figures as only a fraction of cases were reported.

The organization linked the rise in cases to mental ill-health caused by a breakdown in socio-economic safeguards, saying it was the “last resort and path of escape for individuals with unaddressed mental health.”

Even though the positivity rate of covid 19 pandemics in the country has reduced, the effects of the coronavirus are still felt in various sectors. Many people who have been affected have gone through mental health turmoil for a long time.

Sadly, a lot of individuals do not realize they are in this dangerous zone until it’s too late, and they end up taking lazy and bad decisions because they are overwhelmed.

Most of the victims prefer not to talk about their mental status even after realizing they are trapped inside, especially men who are generally taking their lives because of the warped understanding of what it is to be a man.

An African man guards up to his feelings because he fears the repercussions in a society that has taught men that they do not cry, that they are not supposed to show their emotions or vulnerability.

Some men would rather go for a prostate check than see a psychiatrist or a counselor.

Mental health instability is even worse at the workplace where the impact has serious consequences not only for the individual but also for the productivity of the enterprise.

Employee performance, rates of illness, absenteeism, accidents, and staff turnover are all affected by employees’ mental health status

Employers tend to take the view that work or the workplace are not etiological factors in mental health problems. However, whatever the causal factors, the prevalence of mental health problems in employees makes mental health a pressing issue in its own right.

For people with mental health problems, finding work in the open labor market or returning to work and retaining a job after treatment is often a challenge. Stigma surrounds those with mental illness and the recovery process is often misunderstood.

Mental health in entrepreneurship is never discussed but the ripple effect is deep and negative. From the employer who might be the victim to the employees, suppliers, clients, etc.  Just one broken chain in that organization could break the hell loose.

The pressure that an employer gets when it’s already due date for salary disbursement or the pressure of not delivering to a client on time and or the fear of losing him, is often unbearable.

Imagine the frustration, and you’re still expected to be strong! This could break anyone. We are human.

Some get these mental issues from home and take them to the office. Abd idea. You will end up making enemies in the office.

Studies show that 10.8% of Kenyans have a mental illness at any point in time. However, the government invests just 0.01% of the health expenditure on mental health and has only 62 government psychiatrists serving 49 million Kenyans.

Consequently, mental health services remain practically inaccessible to most Kenyans particularly those who need them most – the poor and marginalized groups.

It’s time to talk about and address the ever-neglected topic of mental health issues and business to promote a continued positive and healthy entrepreneurial culture in the country.

Although effective mental health services are multidimensional, the workplace is an appropriate environment to educate individuals about and raise their awareness of, mental health problems.

For example, the workplace can promote good mental health practices and provide tools for recognition and early identification of mental health problems,

It can establish links with local mental health services for referral, treatment, and rehabilitation. Ultimately, these efforts will benefit all by reducing the social and economic costs to society of mental health problems.







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