Dear men, there’s no shame in speaking about your problems - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Dear men, there’s no shame in speaking about your problems


Suicide has become endemic in Kenya, if daily news reports are anything to go by.
A closer look at the reported cases reveals the depth of this problem — more boys and men are taking their own lives than are girls and women.

Most of these cases have been blamed on mental illness and disorders, including stress and depression.

Impulsiveness, withdrawal and substance use, including alcohol and drugs, have been cited by experts as some of the warning signs for elevated suicide risk.

Communication has been singled out as one of the ways people facing life pressures can escape the risk of stress, depression and eventual suicide.

The many friends I have on campus and in the village know this but there is a problem — our society does not expect men to open up. They are expected to ‘man up’, be ‘strong’ and deal with their problem like ‘real men’.

'Mwanaume ni kujikaza'

For example, if person X is depressed and he opts to communicate his problems, there is a high possibility that his friends would laugh at him. 

They would tell him “mwanaume ni kujikaza (a man has to be tougher)”.

Recently, I asked some of the guys around campus if they would open up on their problems, and many said they would only seek help from fellow men.

“Only a man can understand the challenges of another man,” one said, confirming that the many stressed boys and men out there are not comfortable sharing their problems with their mothers and wives, respectively.

Now, Valentines is days away and I hear another men’s conference is being planned, as men, once again, seek ways to escape the burden of love.

Expectations of men

If it materialises, I just have one request; that speakers set aside enough time to address the issue of suicide among this gender.

And as I conclude, the Kenyan society needs to change perception and expectations of men.

Let us encourage our fathers, brothers and uncles to embrace communication, open up and even cry if necessary. 

This Valentine’s, let us show them love because, just like women, they need it.

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