September 29, 2020 at 6:37 pm #2889Daniel OchiengKeymaster
Please write a short paragraph of fewer than 300 words on your definition of mental health from a youth’s perspective. How has it made you feel about the concept of mental health? Have you experienced mental health challenges in your past or do you know of someone who has or is ongoing mental health management challenges? Tell us their story (you may be anonymous or use fictional characters, we respect our privacy and of those around you). How was this managed, if at all?
For my own interpretation, mental health is a condition in which people come across it behave in a very sensitive and vulnerable way as if it’s to cope up with something that is going on in their head. It’s like having a turbulent internal battle going on in your mind, which can be balanced by external sources, but need to be cured inside to reach a balance, peaceful thought that keeps you function probably in society.
The concept of mental health would be described, by me, as a medical condition in which a person endure pain coming from their mind as it’s constantly repeating negative words and negative feelings toward something that had happened in the past or is happening at the current moment. My feeling toward this subject is neutral, as it is something that so many people endure in their adolescent years as well as in their adulthood, but it is still something that’s hard to be treated in term of statistic, since mental health is a case by case scenario in which something specifically bad had happened to one person or a multiple events that colisee, not a disease or virus that can be cured by one type of medicine. To understand about mental health issues is to understand about human beings, as every human being is unique with its own background, past history, trauma, psychological function and circumstances, it would be difficult to generalize a treatment that can cure every individual mental health condition. That’s why it has and always will be difficult to battle mental health, both time consuming, effectiveness and money consuming that come within the treatment.
I myself have had a history battling depression for 3 years. At the age of 15, notice how my society has so many problems. I started joining an NGO / NPO platform to participate in my role as a media member to help write content and raise awareness for those platforms. With my contribution for approximately 4380 hours for more than 10 NGO / NPO organizations, I have little time left to focus on my academic record in high school since my public school has focused intensely on student’s grade and academic achievement rather than personal interest or social activity. Due to my lack of performance in class, I was isolated for 3 years by my classmate during high school, without having any kind of verbal conversation with classmates during high school and receiving no help from teachers, which led me to suffer from social anxiety and depression.
My parents are part of a lower class family, with my father working as a security guard and my mother working as a housewife and a motorcycle taxi driver. Both of my parents are working as labor workers and both have not graduated from high school. They are completely clueless about what she has been doing outside of school and financially incapable for me to study abroad.
At the age of 17, I founded an organization with Mr Thai, CEO of Ybox to help build a community and a writing platform (specifically website) for active bloggers and authors from across Viet Nam to spread their knowledge and ideas for those who need. Me and Mr Thai started with nothing, except for the logo, until the project fanpage got more than 13.000 likes and followers, Authority network has reached over 950 book authors / bloggers in Vietnamese market and continues to provide audience useful, informative content until this day. In the same period of time, I also formed a personal blog on Facebook to nurture my inner artist and help raise awareness for mental health and social issues. My blog has got more than 5000 likes, followers and reached its peak due to one viral post in 2018 with more than 8000 shares and making national online newspapers. After this event, I have appeared as a guest speaker for several events and been interviewed by national television.
But regardless of all the success, I still have an empty hole in my heart as it is the feeling of not belonging to society, to my school and to everyone that surrounded me at that time. I can’t sleep well most nights and can’t concentrate on everything because there is a voice in my head that constantly shouts negative words toward me, as if it’s saying that I’m not good enough, that everyone hates me and wants me to disappear from their life. My head is falling into 2 states, one is which it keeps flashing back all the bad incidents and hurtful words I have come across and two, is which it comes to be revengeful and hateful toward everyone that has been involved in my negative experiences.
It is no doubt the worst period of my life and I don’t wish anyone to endure the same thing that I have endured. But nevertheless, I have never regretted my thought and feeling at that time, as it’s my way of coping with everything that had happened and made me force myself to see through the whole picture of what I did, why it had happened and whom I can trust in these difficult times. Overall, it makes me a person as I am today, for better or for worse, and there is no happier feeling than finding your true self and loving yourself because of who you are. And as you come to understand yourself and love yourself, that’s when you can learn to love other people as who they truly are.
So for me, to manage a mental health problem, is to manage your mind that is controlling your awareness of everything that happens around you, to go deep down inside your thoughts and constantly asking yourself why are you thinking and feeling this way. It makes you see yourself as a third person, to justify and clarify information as well as to see a wider picture of the world and come to realization that it is okay to not have everything figured out, or to feel a certain way that is different from one another, or to act a certain way that don’t make sense to eyes of beholder.
3. In your opinion, is mental health management necessary in society? What are the signs and symptoms that someone is experiencing mental health challenges? Do you believe that these signs and symptoms are more common in their communities or are they seen as the typical signs and symptoms of mental health worldwide? Why?
Mental health management, in my perspective, is a crucial opponent for one person to function probably in society. If you can not control your mind, you can not control everything.
Signs and symptoms that someone is experiencing mental health challenges, according to http://www.mayoclinic.org:
Feeling sad or down
Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
Withdrawal from friends and activities
Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
Problems with alcohol or drug use
Major changes in eating habits
Sex drive changes
Excessive anger, hostility or violence
I think it’s a common and typical sign and symptoms of mental health worldwide, as it’s no differences in race or region with media conditions, so there is no exceptional idea of the symptom of the medical. However, there will be an existence of reason in which someone is likely to have medical conditions based on their external circumstances and environments.
4. The common statement is that mental health management especially among youth is a developed world problem and not an issue that affects developing countries. Is this true or false? Please provide an explanation and possible examples.
I disagree with the statement, mental health can happen to anyone regardless of their circumstances, and the reason causing mental health is various from abuse to loss of loved ones. There is no difference on whether or not one person is more likely or less likely to have mental health problems due to their citizenship.
For example, a child born in a privileged family can develop mental health problems due to their lack of family bonding or human intimacy due to his high status family. On the other hand, a child born in a less unfortunate family may not go through the same thing as they are raised in a close knit community and have no peer pressure to endure with, therefore they don’t develop any mental health problem.
When it comes to mental health, it’s a case by case situation rather than a disease that is common to one area than another.
6. Please refer to assignment 2: Social Media and Personal Banding. We posted a study by Dr. Primack and colleagues in 2014-2016 at the University of Pittsburgh, the study found that there is a significant, linear relationship between social media use and depression, measured either as total time or frequency of visits. Do you think social media has an impact on Youth Mental Health? How are your community leaders dealing with it?
Social media definitely has a significant impact on youth mental health. As people are more prone to their mobile phone, exploring new things and keep updating new information regardless of whether or not they are important or not. The lack of human interaction, nature exploring and communications may let some youths isolate themself to society and cling to their virtual reality instead of dealing with their real life problems. In Vietnam, we have a law that banned false information on the internet that can cause someone to have a wrong belief about something and constantly reaching out to each citizen with official updates from the government about social issues that related to the citizens everyday life.
7. Is there decent access to mental care for youth in your country? Do you think youth seek the help of mental care officers first when they have mental health issues? Are the officers being active in helping the youth?
At the moment, there are less or even none of the government’s actions involved in mental health care for youth. For example, there is no information given out to the citizen, no media coverage and to the point when mental health problems are considered as psychopaths or someone that can do harm to society and need to be taken to a psychiat hospital. When some are weak in the mind, people around them just treat it as a weakness and need to be toughen up to deal with the real world. It is even worse when it comes to men, as society pressure them to not have any weakness or else will deem them not worth it as a man. The number of youth who are experiencing mental health problems, a large percentage of them did not seek out for help or feel like they can share their problem to anyone. There is a lack of sympathy and understanding from society that lead the victim feeling helpless and feel rather strange within themself and their own feelings. When human needs mostly consist of making money and working hard to get a higher status, anything that is not related to that issue seems unimportant and not to be taken seriously by society.
There is no protection of the law to help those victims of mental health, the only option available for them is to reconcile with their family or their school, work environment.
8. Please write a paragraph of 400 words or less on whether your government is taking into account mental health management. Give suggestions on what changes you as a youth would advocate for. List a few steps you are willing to undertake as a youth to fight for change in terms of mental health.
At the moment, there are less or even none of the government’s actions involved in mental health care for youth. For example, there is no information given out to the citizen, no media coverage and to the point when mental health problems are considered as psychopaths or someone that can do harm to society and need to be taken to a psychiat hospital. When some are weak in the mind, people around them just treat it as a weakness and need to be toughen up to deal with the real world. It is even worse when it comes to men, as society pressure them to not have any weakness or else will deem them not worth it as a man. The number of youth who are experiencing mental health problems, a large percentage of them did not seek out for help or feel like they can share their problem to anyone. There is a lack of sympathy and understanding from society that lead the victim feeling helpless and feel rather strange within themself and their own feelings. When human needs mostly consist of making money and working hard to get a higher status, anything that is not related to that issue seems unimportant and not to be taken seriously by society. There is no protection of the law to help those victims of mental health, the only option available for them is to reconcile with their family or their school, work environment.
There are something that need to changed in the system to benefit those with mental health problems:
Spread out the information in the matter and classify it as a serious problem that needs to be taken account of and not treat it as just some teenager problems in their adolescent years.
A numerous funding and education workshop in hospital, school At the moment, there are less or even none of the government’s actions involved in mental health care for youth. For example, there is no information given out to the citizen, no media coverage and to the point when mental health problems are considered as psychopaths or someone that can do harm to society and need to be taken to a psychiat hospital. When some are weak in the mind, people around them just treat it as a weakness and need to be toughen up to deal with the real world. It is even worse when it comes to men, as society pressure them to not have any weakness or else will deem them not worth it as a man. The number of youth who are experiencing mental health problems, a large percentage of them did not seek out for help or feel like they can share their problem to anyone. There is a lack of sympathy and understanding from society that lead the victim feeling helpless and feel rather strange within themself and their own feelings. When human needs mostly consist of making money and working hard to get a higher status, anything that is not related to that issue seems unimportant and not to be taken seriously by society.
There is no protection of the law to help those victims of mental health, the only option available for them is to reconcile with their family or their school, work environment.
andworkplace about mental health problems.
Encourage victims to openly talk about their feelings and experiences without any judgement or backlash in society.
Have a mental health consulate in every community environment such as school, workplace or hospital where they can come to seek help if they feel anything not right in themself mentally.
Mention it constantly on news coverage and media outlets to help raise awareness.
Have a law enforcement on any kind of abuse activity, physically or mentally both should be treated equally as a crime to society.
Create a community where people can help one another on their mental health problems such as community project, volunteering.
9. Highlight a role model in your life who was battling with mental health and is a survivor. Explain in depth what makes this individual unique to you as a youth. Tell us their story on how they overcame mental health and the lessons you derived from their history.
There is a person in my life that is really important to me, he is my best friend that I could have ever wished for. He is always taking care of other people around him at all costs and always pressuring himself to help them as much as he can. But when he is all alone, he feels as if he does not exist, there is a constant need for him to get out and interact with other people around him and make them happy. But as time goes by, people just gradually leave and he is all alone with his thoughts. That’s when he began to develop a voice in his head that told him that he was useless and couldn’t help anyone, or overthinking everything that came into his mind. It’s a constant circle of self deprecating and emotional exploitation, feeling that he can’t control since he is only capable of absorbing other people’s feelings around him and not his own.
Thanks to my help as a friend, he is able to cope with his feelings and learn to accept his situation, waiting for a better chapter of his life ahead. Since he is not able to detect his own feelings, the only thing that can help him to get through his depression phase is to be surrounded with people who he holds dearly in his heart and being able to love and take care of them. By doing something to the ones who loved him as much as he loved them, he is able to endure whatever circumstances that he is in at the moment and live on in order to take care of other people in the future.
His story has helped me to understand something about mental health challenges. When it comes to your self identity and self realization, there are no one like another in their thinking process, therefore, it will be depend on the person to find their source of purpose, of motivation that keeps them grounded in their daily life and hold on to them at all cost, in order to be feeling as if their existence matter and understand what is going on within themself.
A Kectil Peer Panel Discussion was held in the first week of September, 2020 via WhatsApp.. The Peer Panel Discussion was attended by diversity of international Kectil Colleagues from Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan and the following agenda was discussed,
· Individual definition of mental health, panelists’ views on mental health and experiences they or someone close to them had had regarding mental health.
· Common mental disorders among the youth in respective countries.
· Whether adequate resources for mental health management and treatment are available in their countries
· To what extent the youth should rely upon external help and whether self help is better than external services.
· Potential suggestions for Kectil to help educate the youth regarding mental health disorders and the part panelists were willing to play for it as Kectil colleagues.
· Reviewing the actionable points from Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 and their feasibility.
Discussion and Outcome:
· Views and Experiences with Mental Health
All of the panelists were quite equipped with definitions and information regarding mental health after extensive research for the Kectil assignment. The views regarding mental health were mixed as most of the panelists did not have any serious encounters of mental health issues. However, two of the panelists came up with their personal experiences and how they had learnt to tackle them on their own. As discussions progressed, the other panelists recalled shared instances of mental health challenges faced by family and friends. Fellows from Nigeria shared their rising concern about the drug Nyaope gaining popularity among the youth in Nigerian cities. A fellow even shared how a cousin had been addicted to the said drug and still suffered the consequences despite years of rehabilitation. It was observed that almost all the developing countries need a dedicated and widespread campaign to generate awareness regarding mental disorders and their consequences. It was also learnt that one shouldn’t refrain from telling family and friends about the symptoms they experience. There was also the fact that all of us have to be vigilant and look out for our friends and family in case they’re suffering unknowingly or in fear of social stigma.
· Common Health Diseases prevalent among the youth in our countries.
A journal article on the prevalence of common medical illnesses in developing countries was shared which revealed that many developing countries like Pakistan and Brazil had a prevalence of 20-30% in terms of common mental disorders. Panelists shared that they knew many friends who were undergoing a phase of depression or anxiety. It gave an idea of the ground realities of all the statistics hinting at mental illnesses being a social emergency as more and more members of the youth were vulnerable to mental diseases.
· Access to Health Services and Hindrances
I’d illustrate the current health infrastructure in the words of a Kenyan fellow, “Nobody would notice your mental condition until you are walking naked on the streets”. Developing countries all over the world were stuck in a similar limbo of lack of government driven action and a chronic unawareness creating a state of pandemonium regarding mental health. It was concluded that there were not any adequate resources available for youth to address their mental health need in developing countries. Hindrances being faced by the youth included a complete lack of infrastructure particularly in rural and underdeveloped areas, social stigma and lack of awareness regarding their conditions.
· Youth and Self-Help
It was felt as an established fact among the panelists that not everyone has access to good literature and suitable supportive living conditions to explore the prospect of self-help. It was carefully stated that promoting the prospect of self-help as a commonly preferred treatment can result in drastic consequences by increasing social stigma; people would feel that self-help is the only way and asking for help is showing weakness or dependency. Panelists agreed that if external services are available, they should be consulted with as mental health officers possess a better idea of the circumstances and symptoms of their diseases. In a nutshell, it was agreed that both options should be viable, but external help should always be preferred whenever there is confusion or conflict regarding their symptoms.
· Kectil and Mental Health
The role of Kectil in imparting much-needed tailored health communication to prospective future leaders of the community through the Kectil program and assignments was commended as we were the products, youth consciously discussing about the existence and threat of mental issues. It was further suggested that Kectil should provide a platform (like Facebook groups) to allow youth struggling with mental health to find relevant and authentic information regarding mental health information as the youth of today spends a lot of time on social media websites. Youth shouldn’t depend upon others to wait and lay a framework but they should readily invest themselves into potential methods of dissemination of health information or learning to handle mild and moderate cases of depression, anxiety and related common maladies while promoting people to speak up regarding their mental health concerns to slowly eradicate the stigma.
The panelists agreed that critically needed attention has been given to mental health through the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020. The plans presented, if properly implemented by the member states, would ensure that there is a balanced and fair distribution of mental health resources all across the globe. The panelists elucidated that countries are slowly following suit by implementing policy and law regarding mental healthcare and improving the infrastructure of their healthcare to provide good mental health services.
- This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by Daniel Ochieng.
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