Mental health professionals in our country have been working hard over the past one month to try and preserve and maintain our nation’s mental health under very difficult circumstances. The losses in lives and livelihoods are great, and the wound to the national psyche is greater still. It will take many years to heal the damage that has been wrought by the physical and emotional violence in Kenya.
We have taken care of people who have become mentally unwell due the on-going conflict; we have taken care of others who have had mental illness for a long time but the conflict has made it worse and disrupted their usual care channels; we are also working against all odds to help many others to deal with their current difficulties in order to avoid future psychological difficulties.
Our plea to our fellow citizens is simple: Please stop the violence. The damage goes deeper than the current issues and disagreements. Many years into the future our children will still bear physical and psychological scars as a result of our actions today. Let us all begin working together to build a truly united nation that cares about the future of its children.
To our politicians: Please sit down and talk in all sincerity, and come up with a solution that will save Kenya, not just one that will satisfy your needs and desires. Stop the posturing and the threats to one another, if you truly have the interests of all Kenyans at heart. Visit the victims of the violence together, encourage peaceful co-existence, and help initiate a process of national healing and reconciliation.
To our law-enforcers: Please exercise professionalism in carrying out your duties. This is the time your services are in greatest need, and you must provide security for all, not least our contending politicians, in order to give them the opportunity to sort out the crisis. Do not let other considerations come in the way of carrying out your duties. Live up to your motto: Utumishi Kwa Wote.
Finally, we express our solidarity with all those who have lost their relatives, friends and property. We are in this together, and we shall come out of it together. We are available to continue offering you support in this your hour of need.
DR. LUKOYE ATWOLI
PRESIDENT, EASTERN AFRICA YOUNG PSYCHIATRISTS AND TRAINEES’ ASSOCIATION