KAMPALA, UGANDA: Health experts say over-dependency on the use of social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Twitter, is hindering efforts to reduce the number of people living with mental health-related illnesses in the community.
Dr Kenneth Kalani, a Psychiatrist and a senior medical officer at the Ministry of Health said having conversations face-to-face plays a very important role in terms of reducing depression especially when someone is facing such a challenge.
“Currently people can be in the same house, and they resort to chatting using social media platforms where they end up getting lonely yet in treating mental health–related illnesses the power of talking cannot be underrated,” Dr Kalani said in an interview with a localnewspaper on Monday.
He asked the community to address the issue of using the phone to send messages even when you’re near each other.
According to him, 85 per cent of the people suffering from mental health-related illnesses do not show up in any health facility to seek medical attention.
“This is a disturbing statistic because you have mental illness your performance is going to become suboptimal, and the community and government are going to lose out”, he said.
“They are wandering on the streets, others working in various offices but living in this condition. This is very bad,” Dr Kalani observed while addressing a gathering of mental health stakeholders in Kampala.
The Acting Assistant Commissioner of Mental Health and Control of Substance Use in the Country, Dr Hafusa Lukwata Ssentongo said the number of people suffering from depression is the most prevalent and stands at 25%, followed by anxiety issues at 10%- amongst users of substances such as alcohol and marijuana.
“We want people to go back to their basics and stop overreacting even if they are facing some challenges such as poverty. You should be able to manage situations as they come,” Dr Lukwata emphasized.