Heart-wrenching stories by security journalists in Kenya during a Mental Wellness Day on Saturday, have pointed to the need for more focus on mental health.
The event held in Kajiado County on Saturday had been organized by the Crime Journalists Association of Kenya (CJAK).
The Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) and the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) supported the noble initiative with counsellors.
“What was clear from the meeting is that we need more of such events for journalists and more so those covering crime and security related issues,” NACADA Communication Director Sammy Mwangi said.
The issues raised by CJAK members and other invited journalists painted a picture of journalists who have immersed themselves in their work, literally becoming too busy to cater to their health.
CJAK Secretary-General Joseph Muraya revealed the ambitious programme would run all year long, to ensure journalists are exposed to mental health.
“We value the mental health of our members, and that is why we have committed to continue holding more of such events,” he told Shahidi News.
For journalists experiencing flashbacks of traumatic incidents and insomnia, counsellors advised them to seek medical support promptly.
“Suppressed Trauma often graduate to post-traumatic stress disorder…just go seek help,” Trizah Mwangi, a NACADA based counsellor said.
“You can never get immune to trauma. We need to take care of that. I want to thank CJAK for organizing this event. It is important for all of us.”
-Empty Chair technique-
Robert Mugo, a counsellor from IMLU, recommended the use of the empty chair technique.
It is a quintessential exercise that places the person in therapy across from an empty chair.
He or she is asked to imagine that someone (such as a boss, spouse, or relative), they, or a part of themselves is sitting in the chair.
This simple approach is designed to allow someone to work through interpersonal or internal conflict.
It helps someone see the situation from a different perspective and gain insight into your feelings and behaviours.
“As you verbalize what’s going on, the abstract becomes more concrete. As you take on the other person’s role, you gain insight into your own perspective as well as theirs,” he said.
The article was initially posted on https://shahidinews.co.ke/2021/02/07/our-mental-story-security-journalists-day-with-counselors/.