MENTAL HEALTH

Safe spaces critical for letting out pent-up emotions

It can be something as simple as having a free talk with a trained counsellor

In Summary

• Discussions should be encouraged between peers to see to it that human safe spaces become the next big intervention against mental illness.

• Providing these spaces would prove effective in cutting down cases of suicide and depression that have been on the rise lately due to avoidable causes. 

Mental health illustration.
VENTING SPACE: Mental health illustration.
Image: COURTESY

A safe space in health circles basically describes a social enterprise purposed to promote, guide and to enhance conversations with regards to issues surrounding mental health.

For a long time, the concept of safe spaces has been restricted to specific buildings and spaces. What, then, is this new idea of human safe spaces?

A safe space is not necessarily a physical location. It can be something as simple as having a free talk with a trained counsellor or just a small group of people who have mutual values and consistently commit to providing each other with a supportive environment.

Through this consistency, trust is gained and the old idea of having to find a physical location to vent or to let out is replaced by even one-on-one conversations where a solution is debated upon for the best outcome of the situation.

This, in the long run, would prove effective in cutting down cases of suicide and depression that have been on the rise lately due to avoidable causes that are (in) directly caused by burnouts, emotional exhaustion, interpersonal conflicts, distress, drugs and substance abuse and self-resentment. The bottling up of these negative emotions is the general cause for the past and present cases of mental health degradation.

Whereas the cases are many, it would be prudent to take a personal initiative to be of help to even one person at a time. Safety depends upon the entirety of the system working to minimise avoidable harm. That is only possible if the genesis of these types of harm can be freely pointed out and addressed without fear of judgment.

Discussions should be encouraged between peers to see to it that human safe spaces become the next big intervention against mental illness.

Naya Kenya, Kisumu