Of Mental Health

mental health awareness

mental health awareness

Mental health is a mostly avoided and greatly misunderstood topic in African countries. Some of the beliefs are steeped in years of cultural practices that make opening up difficult, when you read and hear the stories people have to share, you realise people struggle by themselves.

Generally speaking, when you speak of mental health it is assumed you are referring to the kind of mental illness which leads to one being committed to a mental asylum under heavy sedatives or roaming the streets in ragged clothes in deep conversations with the unseen. Word on the street is this caused by anything from genetics, stress, taking drugs, committing murder or adultery, witchcraft, as a sacrifice in a money making ritual or forsaking  your ancestral kin.

If you randomly ask someone about their mental health they will look at you as if you just asked them if they are crazy……..

We all have that or have heard of that uncle or aunt whom nobody really talks about who occasionally gets whisked away to get treatment and medication, when the moon is a certain way. I remember reading something a long time ago about how the moon affects lunatics not exactly quite unlike the way of werewolves.

They say Lunatics comes from Lunar…. (The lunar lunacy effect)

Moon howling

Even William Shakespeare had something to say about this in Othello:

“It is the very error of the moon.
She comes more near the earth
than she was wont. And makes
men mad.”

Othello Act 5 scene 2

I have an uncle, he taught me Latin when I was six years old, I thought we were speaking gibberish and I indulged him because as I understood it he got headaches. I only discovered when I went to a Catholic boarding school that I could recite the Lord’s prayer in Latin. He is a genius, he studied at a university abroad, on some scholarship in the 70s, smoked some weird stuff and never got quite got back to himself.

The last time I saw him, he was trying to build a resonance machine, which would vibrate your brain cells at the natural frequency of a genius mind and if you had not studied mathematics at high school level your brain would blow up, leaving a world of only intellects…….

Conversations with him are always intriguing, I understand what he is talking about sometimes, maybe because I know how resonance works; someone else just listens and decides he speaks gibberish, when he actually speaks fluent German. No one quite talks about it, I don’t even know what he studied. Sometimes I worry I have those genes, a crazy genius who might take a bad trip and never come back?

Then we have the silent killer Clinical depression which has a list symptoms indistinguishable from what people generally call being moody, sad even lazy and yet battling darkness at their core. Its easy to look happy, when everyone wears a mask. I have seen people who refuse to accept that depression is an actual medical condition and not some made up excuse to be sad

Smiling Mask Sad Face beneath

No one seems to take it seriously right up until the time someone ends their life. Then suddenly people are trying to understand when you got such dark thoughts or how they didn’t realise that the extent of your depression was not just sadness but something deeper darker…..Needed treatment/therapy not just telling some one to man up or be positive or simply try harder

Unfortunately no one ever really knows whats going on inside you, the case of The Strong Silent Man.

It’s Ok to say “I am sad and I don’t know why”……… nothing to be ashamed about. You could even write it down, it’s a form of therapy, some of the best writers are really tortured spirits and paper was the only friend that listened and offered no judgement.


Day 14 of my blog everyday challenge

if you are in Zimbabwe and need to contact someone you can try The Samaritans.

Samaritans – Bulawayo
PO Box 806
Contact by: Face to Face – Phone – Letter:
Hotline: (9) 650 00
24 Hour service:

Harare Samaritans
PO Box UA 267
Union Avenue
Contact by: Face to Face – Phone – Letter:
Hotline: (4) 726 468 – (4) 722 000
Hotline: Toll-free: 080 12 333 333
24 Hour service:

The Samaritans
Hotline: (20) 635 59

Or Find other free organisations in the post by The Quarter Wife

If you know of any other please add them……. What are your experiences with mental health like?



  1. I love reading these posts. You’re so far away from where I am and your country is so different and yet so much, it’s all the same.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important topic.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the shoutout!
    Yeah, we need to do better as Africans when it comes to mental health. It doesn’t mean one is “crazy” or whatever, it just means they are ill and they need help.


  3. I have a late uncle who had a mental illness. Noone spoke about it but when we were little whenever we saw him we imitated his every move. His parents kept him away from people the greater part of the time so that people wouldn’t say anything about his condition. I assume he lived a very lonely life with little human interaction…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and the way people behave like its something contagious, a secret thats only gossiped about and never directly spoken….
      Its interesting to note how many Psychology graduates we have and how most end up working abroad and yet locally extremely limited counseling and therapy services… Fundings and priorities are getting mixed up somewhere……..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post.. so as i was writing my post on this issue i had typed a sentence… then deleted it.. i couldn’t come out clean… imagine that , am writing about mental health and I couldn’t come out to say I suffer from a mild form of depression, triggered mostly by overwhelming events the last bout i had was last year as i was job hunting i was in such a negative space in my life i was always moody, i could not understand how with my education i couldn’t find a job, but with self awareness and conversations with some friends i did manage to overcome it. It makes me wonder how other cope especially if you are not self aware.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank You Bex ♥♥♥
      Some dont cope, it starts as a tiny fog that you think will blow over, and soon its a storm.
      Writing is a great way to share your vulnerabilities, sometimes I write a post and I pause before I hit that post button…… afraid how much of myself I reveal…..
      Thanks for dropping by


  5. We need more awareness campaigns in the world. In fact there is one which commenced on 4 September 2017, happening in South Africa. It is called “Crazy for walking” where volunteers will be walking 1500km over 37 days – to demonstrate what “crazy” is! It is an effort to de-stigmatize the word “crazy” which is associated with people suffering from mental illness.

    All along the walk route, the public will be educated around mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression, as well as easy guidelines to improve and maintain mental wellness.

    We need more people talking about this. Thanks Beaton.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We have lots of problems with mental health in the US as well. But based on what I’ve read on the blogosphere, the stigmas associated with challenges like depression seem to be quite strong in some African countries. But when people like you write about mental health, then it helps to weaken some of that stigma. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a necessary subject to discuss, well tackled… well written 👏 oh and you schooled me on the lunatic ref to the moon… never knew that…Thank you B #keepwriting


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