‘I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after I tried suicide 6 times’

“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after I tried suicide not once not twice but 6 times,” Betty Cynthia said.

She is one of the few lucky survivors who have been in a position to get medical help from professionals.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, the National Institute of Mental Health says.

On May 19, a student at Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls High School in Nyeri committed suicide.

A suicide note found by her bedside revealed that she felt extremely pressured to perform better in her studies and her parent’s separation made it worse.

Dr. Catherine Mutisya, a psychiatrist with more than 19 years says severe stress and disappointments may be manifestation of mental illness in young people.

”People tend to express exactly what they are going through for example their frustrations, ” she said.

On Monday this week, the country was shocked with news of an university student who was shot and injured after he gained unauthorised access into State House grounds.

A look at Brian Bera’s Facebook profile showed that he may have been suffering from mental illness.

He is a fifth year Engineering student from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi.

Another graduate, Owen Maina, committed suicide on February 2 this year after posting a warning message on Facebook.

“Solution to all problems is death. No man…no problems,” his post reads. A post – mortem would also reveal that he was undergoing depression.

The above are just a few examples of  an estimated 2 million Kenyans that are suffering from mental illness.

There are fears of more unreported cases of young people who don’t get medical help and commit suicide after sharing worrying information on social media.

In the UK, ministers are considering imposing new rules on social media companies because they are concerned about the children’s use of social media and its effect on their mental health.

This was after Molly Russell, a 14-year-old girl, died by suicide in November 2017.

After her death, it was found that she had viewed social media content on depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide, according to the UK’s Press Association (PA) news agency.

In an urban set up where people are busy with their lives, it might be quite difficult to identify a family member or friend who might be showing signs and symptoms of mental illness.

You may observe strange things that a person might be doing or saying and simply pass them off as to be crazy or link them to drug use then move on.

This might not usually be the case; they might be showing signs and symptoms of mental illness.

Our societal and cultural values have made many view depression as an attempt for attention.

This makes people fear opening up about their situation because of the stigma that would follow.

Thus, many victims have resulted to some drastic measures like committing suicide.