Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sitawa's Open Letter To You - 'Vote For Mental Health'

Mental Health ambassador and poet, Sitawa Wafula has drafted an open letter to you. She is asking you to put in a lot of thought into whom you will cast your vote for this Monday.
Sitawa is asking you to elect leaders who care for the mental health issues and will do something to better the lives of people with mental health disorders.

She writes:
Dear Kenyans, You have watched them debate, You have seen the campaigns; choppers, branded vehicles and pollution on our walls, You have read through their manifestos or eavesdropped on them, You have your tickets ready for Monday's show down, Before you cast those votes, I, Sitawa Wafula, a person with a mental health disorder, would like to speak on my behalf and on behalf of many others like me, some who can stand and speak for themselves and those who cannot even stand let alone speak for themselves. Statistics show every 1 in 4 persons has a mental health disorder or is on their way to getting one.

I would like you to pose at lunch hour and look at your 4 colleagues, pose at 5pm as you meet up with the guys and out of the 4 of you, 1 of you has a mental health disorder or is on their way to getting one.

Look at Kenya as a whole, that is 25% of the economy, 10 Million Kenyans.. KNCHR Human Rights Audit of Mental Health System in Kenya further shows that out of this 10 Million, only 1.5 M will end up receiving treatment with the remaining 8.5 M left out of the treatment gap due to lack of mental health care services in the community and primary health care facilities, unavailability of psychotropic drugs and rehabilitation centre among other factors...and to that figure, add the millions of care givers, they need care too.


I was not born with a mental health disorder, it caught up with me in my early twenties. It can catch up with any of you too, with your lover, with your sister, with your brother, with your baby. It is not a curse, I consider myself blessed every waking day. It is not an act of witchcraft. It doesn't respect age, it doesn't respect social status, it just catches up.


You have watched them debate,

You have seen the campaigns; choppers, branded vehicles and pollution on our walls,

You have read through their manifestos or eavesdropped on them,

You have your tickets ready for Monday's show down,

Go and vote on our behalf.

Go and vote on your behalf.


You can read the rest of her letter on her blog.
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