This week we have been entertained and brought to question what goes on in Buckingham Palace or what it means to be a royal. Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah brought out a lot of issues that the couple went through while being royals however the two issues i.e mental issues and racism took center stage for many. We had several news outlets and blogs echo these sentiments but what caught my attention was the fact that it was a serious conversation because it came from royals. Evidence has shown that the number of people who seek mental health support increases after a celebrity discloses their own experiences with a mental health condition. That evidence right there is laughable and concerning. Mental health has been an issue for the longest time, heck it's been a trending topic during this pandemic period given the several cases of suicides and depression that have been reported but we don’t see it as an issue until an influential personality talks about it. Let me not get started about racism as the other issue that was brought to light, because, if you can remember well we had the Black Lives Matter movement after Floyd’s murder and several other conversations around the topic.
Food for thought. Do we have to wait for someone influential to speak about something for us to take it seriously or put measures against it? One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. In Kenya, it is estimated that one in every 10 people suffer from a common mental disorder. The number increases to one in every four people among patients attending routine outpatient services. Depression and anxiety disorders are the leading mental illnesses diagnosed in Kenya. Don't wait for someone influential to talk about it for you to take it seriously. Seek help. COVID19 pandemic has brought with it a tonne of challenges ranging from job loss, financial strain, etc. All of this can have a big impact on our mental health. If you start showing symptoms such as excessive paranoia, worry, or anxiety, long-lasting sadness or irritability, extreme changes in moods, social withdrawal, or dramatic changes in eating or sleeping patterns, don't keep quiet. Talk about it. Don’t wait for Jalango, Mutoko, or Prince Harry to say they are depressed for you to take it seriously. On a light moment though, one of the laughable things about all this is the fact that Meghan and Harry relocated to the US to get away from racism in Britain.
We don't have to wait for an influential person to speak about something for us to take it seriously and we also need to be extra careful about what the so-called influential people tell us to do
On an opposite note, it is rumored that John Pombe Maghifuli was or is admitted to Nairobi Hospital over COVID-19 related complications. Whether or not it is true the fact is that he isn't feeling well. He has been a big crusader of the “There is no COVID-19 campaign”. Am sad it has reached this level for him to be taken ill by the same virus he says does not exist. If you ask me Mr Pombe knows COVID-19 exists. He was too deep in this lie that he never wanted to admit fault. Reminds me of my MBA class on strategic decisions and being cognizant of our own mental biases. In this case loss aversion bias. Also known as the endowment effect, loss aversion is a principle in behavioral economics whereby someone will work harder to keep something than they will to acquire it in the first place. If you need an example, being hesitant to fire a bad employee is a common one. You might think, "Well, I've already put so much time into training them, paying them, insuring them, and their performance isn't really THAT bad...I should see if I can salvage this." For Mr. Pombe, he was too deep in his lie and had spent a lot of time and resources convincing people that there is no virus to the extent of procuring herbal cures from Madagascar to try and salvage the situation instead of admitting he is wrong and allowing the experts to assist.
This president would rather die than admit that he was wrong and allow for measures to be put in place to save lives. How many more people need to die for Tanzanian leadership to realize that things are not normal? If it is true that he is in Nairobi for medical assistance then it's sad because not many Tanzanian citizens can afford to fly to Nairobi for special medical attention. To my Tanzanian brothers and sisters, COVID-19 is real, please mask up, sanitize and maintain social distance. Save your lives and those of your loved ones. Let no influential person lead you to your death. You have the power of choice.
In conclusion, we don't have to wait for an influential person to speak about something for us to take it seriously and we also need to be extra careful about what the so-called influential people tell us to do. Just look at yourself in the real mirror, not someone else's. The problem or solution existed even before the influential person spoke about it. The data and facts are out there and easy to access. Act now and let us normalize being real and stop living based on what influential people say.