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4 Critical Support Systems for Persons With Mental Health Conditions

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as mental well-being that enables people to cope with life's stresses, realize their abilities, and play their role in the community. The organization also considers mental health a basic human right critical to personal, community, and socio-economic development.

Kenya and psychiatric disability | © Pixabay

Support systems for mental health (Pixabay)

However, due to various factors, people do not always manage to have good mental health and end up developing mental health conditions. Such conditions impair their functioning, cause distress, and pose a risk of self-harm. They include depression and anxiety.

The global health body describes mental health conditions as a broad term covering mental health disorders and psychosocial disabilities. The term also covers other mental states associated with significant distress, impairment in functioning, or risk of self-harm.

WHO statistics indicate that one in every eight people worldwide has a mental condition. In Kenya, the situation is alarming as 1 out of 10 people who seek healthcare have a mental health condition, according to the Taskforce on Mental Health. Consequently, the task force recommended that “mental illness should be declared a National Emergency of epidemic proportions."

Mental health disorders are highly stigmatized in Kenyan society, making it harder for involved persons. However, instead of prejudicing persons with mental health disorders, we should strive to offer them the support they need. Here are five critical support systems for such persons.

  • 1

    Medical Support

    Above all other forms of support, medical support is a critical support system for a person with a mental health condition. It involves medical assessment and treatment by qualified medical personnel such as psychiatrists and psychologists. Medical support will help put the person on the road to recovery, making it a critical support system.

  • 2

    Emotional support

    Persons with mental health challenges experience conflicting feelings and thoughts that often make them emotionally unstable. Therefore, they need as much emotional support as they can get. Emotional support includes visiting them, keeping them company, calling or texting them, listening to them without judging, and offering them a shoulder to lean on. These actions mean a lot to a depressed person or any other person experiencing related challenges.

  • 3

    Informational support

    Due to the emotional instability that comes with mental health conditions, affected persons tend to struggle with their thoughts. Consequently, it becomes hard for them to process their thoughts and make decisions making informational support helpful. It includes advice, mentoring, and guidance. Expert information on the mental health condition can also help the affected person understand what they are going through and how to cope.

  • 4

    Instrumental Support

    Instrumental support refers to having people around who are willing to help you when needed. Such help can help one with chores such as cleaning, cooking, washing, shopping, etc.

    Such support is helpful to a person with mental health challenges, especially when the going gets tough and one has no energy to do anything.  

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