Depression is a mental health condition that has a negative impact on the physical and mental state of a person.
A report released by the World Health Organisation revealed that over 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression. The report ranked Kenya as the sixth country in Africa with the highest number of depression cases. A total of 1.9 million depression cases were reported in Kenya by 2017.
Depression can be caused by trauma, loss of a loved one, a negative childhood experience among other stressful situations. Symptoms include a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities, even the mundane daily tasks.
Luckily, with the right medical care and attention, depression is curable and one can resume life as they knew it.
“While distraction is not a cure to depression, it helps the brain to get used to not concentrating so much on inner thoughts over time and allows one to see life in different angles at the same time”, says Ms. Emma Tirop Karitu, a psychologist at Smile Wellness International.
Ms Tirop advises that travelling is a good way to relieve stress as it boosts happiness and helps one to free up their mind. “Travel is a great stress buster since it promotes happiness and helps a person to take their mind off stressful situations. This leads to low cortisol levels, a stress hormone, making one feel calm and content. Apart from the obvious fact that one doesn’t have to go to work, travelling gives one an opportunity to step away from the daily toil of life,” says Ms. Emma Tirop.
Her sentiments are echoed by, the Managing Director at Deans Travel Centre Ltd Mr Patrick Maina who says that travelling is recommended by Doctors as helpful.
“Travel is recognized by doctors as being helpful in alleviating stress. I have had some families book holidays for their loved ones to help them forget their worries,” Says Mr Maina.
He adds that it’s not only travelling abroad but it could also be a trip to Mombasa or Diani to seat by the sea or to Haller Park and engage the giraffes by feeding them.
“Currently one of our clients suffering from a terminal disease has been asked to Travel and the family are booking a European tour to cheer the patient up and probably the patient’s last trip,” says Mr Patrick Maina.
According to Ms Tirop, travelling opens one up to situations that require attention to what is happening in the surroundings and the brain can think in different ways and solve problems that are not common in day to day life.
Travelling also helps one in meeting new friends and having new experiences which free up emotions.
“Meeting people at home can be hard but when you travel you are more likely to meet open, friendly people to strike up conversations with. This helps in creating a common bond with fellow travellers as you share similar experiences. Some of these experiences like meeting people who are less fortunate than you can help change your perception and allow you to appreciate the good things in your own life,” she says.
Ms Tirop further points out that nature has a way of relaxing the mind and body. A new environment or a change of surrounding can help improve one’s mental well-being. New sceneries calm senses by uplifting spirits and moods hence helping to shed off the negative thoughts.
Travelling also opens an individual up to new opportunities and possibilities. A person undergoing depression has little self-worth which can lead them to think that they cannot succeed in realising their goals. Travelling is therefore capable of educating and informing on alternative ways of approaching a problem.