For the last 12 months, we had conference calls and discussions among Kemen members and Mental Health Stars. The conferences have opened a discussion that is often overlooked and ignored especially among men, mental health and Depression. KEMEN refers to Kenyan Men Empowerment Network (KEMEN) whose main aim is to promote the civic welfare (to include, but not be limited to, social, economic, environmental, public safety, quality of life, and heritage issues/concerns), its members are Kenyan Men based in the diaspora STARS (Start Talking About it and Remove Stigma). Please join a Team of caring professionals, parents & ministers
The online meetings have been focusing on the below areas of interest ;
- Saying no to Depression
- Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction
- The Effects of Alcohol & Substance Use on the Family System
- Biblical Focus on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Recovery Process and many more.
As Kemen and Mental Health stars, we believe it is the high take to take our initiative to a broader aspect. We are coming to you to have a face to face conversation around mental health. The reason for raising awareness is for destigmatizing Mental Health, which sometimes is a matter of life and death. We can no longer refer to individuals with mental health illness as “Mad”, “Crazy, “Muguruki, “Mwenda wazimu” or as Americans say “Gone Banana.” Just as much as we do not place such labels on individuals who are managing Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Asthma, Cancer, AIDs, and so forth. We need to reach a place in our lives were when we notice someone is struggling with Mental Health issues, we will nudge them to seek help. Someone has given an illustration to the fact that, if a colleague shows up for work every day coughing, someone would ask, “By the way have you seen a doctor for that nasty cough?” Or another example, if we see a person drowning, would we cry out for help? Would we give a helping hand or would we watch in shame and silence?
Let us discuss briefly: Mental Health as commonly known to health care providers and as it is referred to in scientific research. Most Mental Health disorders are not permanent and treatment is possible. Although there are many causes of Mental Health issues, for the purposes of the Diaspora community, the major causes of depression are mainly (a) Genetic, (b) Environmental.
Treatment-Most Mental Health disorders are not permanent and this makes us believe and share that when individuals seek and obtain appropriate treatment, there is healing for the body, mind, and soul.
In the past 7 months, we have discussed that there are several factors that cause depression. We have come to understand that depression is caused by an interaction of internal & external factors in the body’s chemistry with physical factors like health and heredity. The two causes that are of interest are Genetic and environmental causes.
Genetic causes which some people refer to as generational curses, which I Am there need to be a rebuke, cast out and deliver from demons. Family Therapists might call them generational patterns that need to be interfered with or interrupted with, for example, families with 50% chances of having Diabetes.
What would happen if the current generation changes their eating habits? How would this affect the next generation? When we speak with our medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, they are likely to say that a person has a genetic predisposition for a Mental Health disorder based on family history. This is as evidenced by an individual report or documented reports in the person’s medical file. However, heredity does not automatically mean that an individual will be affected by a Mental Health disorder. Here I trust that most people in Diaspora will breathe in and out with a sigh of relief. In any case, how many in Diaspora are reading this article and are able to trace their genealogy to the 6th & 5th generation? Do people know what killed their great-great-grandfathers 130 years ago? How many in Diaspora know the written medical history of their families to the 6th generation (back to 1845). How many brought their medical files with them to this new land? How many more told their doctors the truth about their medical history back in Africa? If we are relying sorely on oral stories (not history) then we can go on teaching generational curses that many have not been able to cure or cast out the demons, nor administer deliverance. Let us remember this is based either on our African traditions of the belief in the role of ancestral spirits influencing our lives or practice thereof. Luckily our Western clinicians and most Mental Health providers practicing in this country have studied the same theories about Mental Health. Here is our line of departure with what we know as Christians and what we practice.
Environmental Causes are sometimes overlooked. Yet from a developmental context, major life changes can contribute to or trigger depression. For example, the death of a loved one, being diagnosed with a chronic illness, financial problems, dealing with difficult relationships, prolonged job loss, trauma experienced due to abuse and even immigration issues that might leave families in limbo. A stressful environment, say like having a family member in jail, or imprisoned can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and frustration. The list can be endless.
Are Mental Health disorders caused by curses or chemistry? Or Could it be an interplay of both? In reading the scriptures, there are many times when Jesus healed the sick and also cast out the spirit…this discussion will be left to a religious article sometime in the future. Can a balanced discussion include generational blessings?
Family and Friends, in order to help individuals struggling with MH, we may call ourselves to reason. In other words, base our understanding of scientific research. Then use available resources, not just to inform, but to transform the lives of families in Diaspora. Of course, individuals in the community of faith have a right to believe in generational curses. But here is a word of caution: if a practicing Christian regardless of their call, their title or their position, doesn’t know the main differences between demon possession and mental illness, my informed opinion is that it is better to be wrong than sorry. Hurry to Take the person to the hospital, and while on the way there, drive praying. The key is not to have a really hot testimony of casting out demons. The key is to keep a person alive and connect them with needed help. Then they can give their testimony, that is their story with the Touch of Jesus Christ. An excerpt from one of the conference calls we usually have as presented by His Servant & Friend, Rev Wambui Njoroge, M.Sci (Child & Family Studies). 0rdained Minister. Previously worked as Child/Adolescent & their Families within GA Public School System/ Pre-K- 12th grade/& Outpatient- Behavioral Health Services. It is made possible through the courtesy of KEMEN (Kenyan Men Empowerment Network, with Mr. Anthony Kamnao, Founder).
We can all earn STARS (Start Talking About it and Remove Stigma). Please join a Team of caring professionals, parents & ministers on the 2nd November 2019 at Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw GEORGIA is 30144 starting from 12 pm Eastern as we have an open discussion about mental health Awareness. We shall also have an open Question & Forum with a panel of young people to cover the youth. This will be a family event, so please tag along all your family members to come and experience one in a lifetime opportunity.
You can’t afford to miss!