NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Team Kenya for the forthcoming 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias Do Sul in Brazil have been advised to seek help whenever they suspect a mental disorder case.
Dr Rose Ngondi, a Clinical Psychologist at Chiromo Hospital Group told the athletes who are camping at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi for the Games planned for May 1 to 15 that choosing to remain silent over a suspected mental problem is likely to develop into a mental illness.
“When you find that you are so stressed, please talk to somebody with the team or outside. The more you remain silent over a mental problem, the more the stress will affect your mental health,” advised Dr Ngondi.
She spoke Friday during a mental health awareness session organised for the athletes by the Ministry of Sports, in partnership with Chiromo Hospital Group.
Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohamed had Wednesday said that the mental health awareness session was motivated by the widespread mental illness within the sports fraternity.
CS Amina added that all future Team Kenya camps will benefit from the program, including a media relations session where the athletes are taken through how to interact with journalist and respond to questions from them during competitions.
In Brazil, Kenya will field athletes in five disciplines namely; athletics (men and women), football (women), basketball (men and women), handball (men and women) and golf (men).
Having taken the athletes through various forms of mental health disorders, which included; depression and anxiety, Dr Ngodi shared with them ways on how to overcome them.
They are engaging in activities that make one feels good, for example dancing and listening to music.
The others are engaging the mind by reading a book and interacting with friends. Her counterpart Dr Victoria Rika advised the athletes to take care of their mental health by avoiding unnecessary stress, adapting to the stress, accepting that things can change and altering the situation.
The athletes pointed out stigma, not being aware that they have a mental issue and fear of breach of privacy and confidentiality as some of the factors preventing them from seeking help.