MCI Radio, in a close partnership with Semicolon Nation and with support from the Media Challenge Initiative, hosted an event centered around the theme “Effective Use of Media for Mental Health Awareness.” This remarkable program was preceded by a thought-provoking Twitter Space session on May 18, 2023, which focused on “Examining the State of Mental Health in the Media Industry.” As part of the pre-event activities, the engaging discussion was skillfully led by Miss Rebecca Cherop, the esteemed CEO and founder of Semicolon Nation.
During the enlightening conversation, Dr. Ben Kimani elaborated on the significance of mental health, emphasizing that everyone faces mental health challenges throughout their lives. He articulated that mental health encompasses one’s emotional, physical, and psychological well-being from birth until the end of life. Dr. Kimani also underscored the importance of maintaining a healthy mental state by striking a balance between daily activities, work, relationships, family, social media, and nurturing a positive self-esteem.
Canary Mugume, an investigative journalist from NBS Television, shared his personal experience with reporting stories that took a toll on his mental health. He recounted a harrowing incident during the “Boda Boda 2010” arrests, witnessing fatal shootings and the brutal assault of his colleagues. The trauma deeply affected him, leaving him mentally distressed for several weeks.
Olivia Komugisha, another journalist, also shared her distressing encounters during the 2021 elections, where she witnessed the aftermath of violence and death on the roadside due to the ban on social media platforms. Both journalists expressed concern about the lack of mental health support within their respective media houses.
Following the impactful Twitter Space session, the collaborative trio organized a more intimate gathering on May 20, 2023, at the MCI Media Hub in Tirupati Mazima Mall, Kabalagala. The event focused on the effective use of media for mental health awareness.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Abaas Mpindi, CEO of Media Challenge Initiative, highlighted the challenges faced by journalists in processing and presenting the daily struggles of their sources. He emphasized the importance of recognizing journalists as human beings, dispelling the misconception that they are immune to the issues plaguing others in society.
The panel discussion featured Hellen Kabahukya, a journalist at Solutions Now Africa, emphasizing the need for a trusted rant partner who can provide a safe space to vent frustrations caused by difficult sources or toxic work environments.
Dr. Agaba Denis shed light on the release of toxic hormones in the body when experiencing sadness and stressed the significance of addressing mental health proactively to prevent overwhelming accumulations of stress.
Dr. Agaba also outlined two vital components of mental health wellness: sleep and emphasized the need for 6-8 hours of quality sleep, practicing good sleep hygiene, and disconnecting from devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of maintaining a balanced diet to support overall well-being.
The event featured engaging activities such as a quiz where participants won t-shirts and invigorating aerobics sessions that fostered a safe and positive atmosphere. The event climaxed with networking over cocktails, sharing stories, and enjoying bites.