Depression is a mental disorder which has been on the rise over the years. In 2017, World Health Organization (WHO), ranked Kenya as the most depressed country in Africa with 4.4% of the population suffering from it. The report also indicated that majority of the victims were men.
Celebrities who opened up on battling depression or being Suicidal [LIST]
Depression is a mental disorder which has been on the rise over the years and celebrities share their stories to create awareness
On July 7, 2020, the Mental Health Taskforce urged the Kenyan government to declare mental health a National Emergency. The key findings of the Taskforce indicate that Kenya has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, psychosocial disability and premature mortality with huge gaps in access to care.
The Taskforce also recommended the establishment of a mental health commission and happiness, to advise, coordinate and continuously monitor the status of mental health, and report on the annual National Happiness Index.
With the challenges that life gives forth, many people have found themselves victims of depression, our celebrities included.
You may think their life is perfect, but they are humans too and some have been battling with issues that we know nothing about.
Being in the limelight comes with a lot of pressure, from people having high expectations of you to everyone meddling with your life since you have no privacy and you have to keep up with rumors and negative stories.
On the other hand, Police data released on July 27, 2021 showed that at least 483 people had commit suicide in a span of three months, with Kiambu County topping the list with the highest numbers.
“We have never recorded such a high number of suicides before and this is not only alarming but calls for urgent remedial measures,” said DCI boss George Kinoti.
Last year, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said 1,442 Kenyans attempted suicide between 2015 and 2018, which it said were conservative figures as only a fraction of cases were reported.
Data from the World Bank puts suicide mortality rates in Kenya at 6.1 people in every 100,000, with men being in the highest risk category, with 9.1 men in every 100,000 affected.
Here is a list of celebrities who have so far opened up on battling depression and being Suicidal
Gospel artiste Betty Bayo, who was married to controversial pastor Victor Kanyari, disclosed her struggles on battling with depression.
Through her YouTube channel, the singer disclosed that she knew she was depressed when she attended a wedding in slippers.
“Someone might ask if I have ever been depressed, I would say yes I have. I knew I was depressed after I attended a wedding only to realize that I had worn slippers. I had not combed my hair nor had I applied lotion on myself. In my mind, I knew that before I left home, I had planned on attending a wedding but I did not plan on attending while looking unkempt.” She said.
Thankfully, she overcame the cruel illness..
Former Citizen TV Journalist Kimani Mbugua opened up on his struggle with depression saying that at a certain point, he almost took away his life.
In an interview with Pulse Live, Kimani disclosed that his struggle began in 2013, when he cleared High School. During that time, he shut everyone out of his life and he never spoke to anyone. His family was going through such a difficult time since his father had lost everything after poor investment decisions, something that worsened his anxiety.
He then contemplated suicide and took to Facebook where he wrote his own eulogy.
“After the well-crafted post, I contemplated three options to take my life; to jump off a waterfall on my campus, jump off the fourth floor of my hostel or starve myself. Fear took control of me and I dismissed the first two options while settling for the final one. Nothing mattered and I began starving myself. During my quest to end my life, on the third day when I was frail and weak and almost succumbing in, my cousin visited me.” He said.
He also revealed that he was seeing a therapist and he has known how to manage his depression. The journalist advised victims to seek help and find a therapist.
In 2019, singer Kenzo Matata came out to reveal that he had been struggling with depression for a long time. The singer confessed that depression was the reason why he had stayed away from his friends and the reason his music career was crumbling.
“For the longest time, I have hidden this but I guess, it’s time to come out and try to encourage people undergoing the same. Friends, depression is real, only that people don’t want to come out openly because of the judgmental nature of human beings. It has driven me to think of doing things that in my entire life I never thought I would actually think of doing,” Said Kenzo.
He went ahead to urge people to address the ‘silent killer that was destroying people's lives. The singer even advised people to check up on their loved ones since a phone call could really change a lot.
Former Hot 96 presenter, Annitah Raey, sunk into depression after a rape ordeal at Jevanjee gardens when she had run away from home because of the harsh nature of her mother. After the horrifying incident, she returned home a very different person.
“I became a different person, I stopped talking a lot. I became a weird person. I smoked weed, did work and didn’t talk. So my mum was like something must have happened to cause the change. I became very reserved and I tried suicide 5 times. I was so wishing to die,” Revealed Anita during an interview with Pulse live.
Annitah added that she still struggled with depressive episodes and sometimes she had bad days where she didn’t want to wake up.
Real Househelps of Kawangware actress, Njeri Gachomba, popularly known as Njambi came out to share about how she sunk into depression when suffered a miscarriage in 2018.
“So, about this photo, I wanted an illustration of what I had gone through last year. The darkness I was living in because of a severe depression, I previously had a miscarriage and that also gave me the anxiety of sharing this news of this pregnancy....” Said Njambi as she talked about one of her photos.
The gorgeous beauty also opened up on how the tough times were when her baby died.
“And it felt like when our baby died, she went with all our blessings. That was the time TRHK went on a long break, and after that no doors were opening, no opportunity was coming our way. I felt like I was being punished, like God had forgetten about us. I was jobless, stressed, dying inside and lonely.” She said.
In September2019, media personality, Ciru Muriuki opened up struggling with her mental health and her depressive moments which made her take a long break from social media.
“I’ve been struggling a bit with my mental health; I’ve had moments of great anxiety; I’ve had a couple of depressed moments…Okay, I’m understating it, when I say depressed moments it sounds like I felt down for 4 minutes and that’s not the case. I’ve had periods of days and days turning into weeks that I’ve just not been Okay. And because I’ve not been Okay, I’ve not had the motivation to do much else other than work and sleep, and social media has had to take a backseat.” Said Ciru in one of her videos.
The gorgeous Broadcast Journalist also opened up on her struggle with self-image issues after gaining a lot of weight. She even likened herself to a rhino.
“I’ve put on quite a bit of weight and I’m not really loving myself physically right now because I’m at the absolute biggest I’ve ever been. You know when you can just be walking past your mirror and I’m like, ‘what is that rhino? I have a rhino in my room…oh, No, it’s me,’” she said.
Do not be fooled by the smile she wears whenever you see her. Anita Nderu has been through some tough times and even considered suicide because of how bad things had gotten.
The beauty revealed that she battled with depression for five months, a moment that was a mental torture for her.
“I cried myself to sleep and cried every morning, my eyes were always puffy. I would RSVP yes to events, hire gowns etc then not go because I did not want to be around people plus my eyes were puffy and I didn’t want to answer all the ‘Are you okay’ questions. The people who caused all this, still sleep soundly at night, I don't get how but they do. To each their demons right? Above all even the one night I cried so much I contemplated killing myself, guys I wanted to blow my brains out, I remember only @dunn_can thought I wasn't okay that night when he saw me. I asked myself, are they worth it? No. God has a plan, he always does just hang in there boo. I recently addressed this issue in a WhatsApp group, the person supposed to be impartial was so rude, I cried even more,” Anita disclosed.
In June 20202, Rapper Jackson Makini Ng’echu aka Prezzo has shared a little known details about his life, disclosing that there is a time he was depressed and forced to stay indoors for a whole year and later on joined Mungiki under the leadership of Maina Njenga.
Speaking to CTA, CMB Prezzo said that after his wedding with Daisy (Mama Zari) in 2008, he had tough choices to make because his then wife loved Nge’chu but hated Prezzo.
“At that time Daisy Mama Zari, loved Ng’echu but hated Prezzo and wanted me to stop doing music and probably be an accountant or a teacher somewhere, a carpenter…anything but not music. And I was like I spent so much time building this brand and I’m not gonna just leave it like that. So from that point on wards, I left them with that Mansion that I was living in and I took another penthouse. So for also most a year I lost myself. For one year, I used to have my bodyguard bringing me food, bringing me whatever I need in the house, I never left the house for a whole year. I was like I was in a house arrest and slowly getting into depression,” says Prezzo.
In June Singer Vanessa Mdee revealed that she had made the decision to leave the music industry because it’s very demonic.
Ms Mdee also disclosed that there was a time she was depressed, a state that drove her into becoming an alcoholic who could drink herself to sleep.
"Trust me I used to wake up every morning questioning what the hell is this about, why are we doing this again, a lot of people used to say to me but you are in America now, (I live in Atlanta now) and that is the Mega of Music you have the perfect opportunity, I’m gonna tell you this, and this is a note to my African stars and artistes out there, don’t chase the American dream there are too many Selinaa Gomezs out here, not yet even conceived and there is only just a few chances not to kill your dream but be great where you are, that’s the only way to do it.
They will come to you, organically no body is really giving chances to Africans like that, it’s when you shine in your space, is when the chances will come to you. Don’t kill yourself chasing the American dream,” said Ms. Mdee.
In June 2020, former Capital FM presenter Miss Mandi opened up on battling depression because of her body weight.
“After a month of working out, I didn’t “see” any results and that bothered me just like everyone else who is starting their fitness journey. Once the first month was up, life came at me so hard I battled a mini depression. For 3 weeks, I locked myself in my house, I cried, drank and barely ate. If I had to leave the house I would put on a “brave” face. As I wallowed in my dark days, each day would call me and apart from checking up on me she would say “don’t you think if you went to the gym you’ll feel better?” I would always answer no. For those 3 weeks, the gym was the last place on my mind. I continued being in my shitty cycle,” said Mandi.
Ex- Tahidi High Actor Mr. Mweposi
In April 2021, Former Tahidi High Actor Bernard Mwangi aka Mr. Mweposi opened up on battling Depression and Alcoholism.
Mr. Mweposi narrated that his life took a wrong turn a few years ago, when his marriage ended, an act that rendered him an alcoholic and later on got depressed.
“Ilifika wakati ambapo mambo yalikuwa mengi na nikajipata nimeingia katika ulevi pale 2011…ulevi mimi nimeingia nikiwa mtu mzima… wakati marriage imesambaratika, nikaingia kwa ulevi Zaidi. Wakati huo ndo nikapata hata depression, high blood pressure bila hata mimi mwenyewe kujua,” said Mr. Mweposi.
Actress Miss Morgan
Former Tahidi High Actress Angela Waruinge popularly known as Miss Morgan has opened up on battling depression and battling Alcoholism.
“For a long time now I have been wishing to open a YouTube Channel, more so because ever since I came out and talked about my issue with Depression and battling Alcoholism and I got a very beautiful feedback form you and the things you people called me and talked about. Really inspired me, the questions were overwhelming and I have come to realize that Depression is something that we really don’t know how to tackle as Africans yet it’s out.
But I will tell you ever since I came to and talked about it things have been different, I have been happier" said Miss Morgan.
On March 10, 2021 in an inter with Hiram Maina, Ms Waruinge said that she resorted to alcohol when things did not go according to her plan.
Dennis Mugo aka OJ
In October 2020, Former Tahidi High actor Dennis Mugo aka OJ disclosed that the fall from being an A-list star to just a nobody in the society drove him into depression and eventually turned him into a heavy drinker and smoker.
“…I got to a point in life where depression ilinigonga, a good one. So I could cover it up with humuor, alcohol, smoking, with a lot of things…while my friends have accomplished a million things, I was still struggling to get to that point…we complain a lot about in society but we forget about ourselves…at some point I as an alcoholic we fucked up and it gets to you.
When everyone is making it and you are there chilling like why not me, then you forget the simple instructions we were given; be discipline, work hard and have a vision. I saw this happening and I think I was proud," said Dennis Mugo.
Former Citizen TV presenter Joey Muthengi said that she battled depression and anxiety since the age of 14.
“I have struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. I started seeing a therapist at 14 years in high school. I kept running away from school and I didn’t understand why. My parents wakanipeleka Kijabe wakaniambia kaa huko! Walikua wananidrop shule wananikuta home, I went to Rift Valley Academy. It started a long time ago and it’s something you struggle with for the rest of your life its not something that can be cured, I have been on medication before, I am not currently. Sometimes life happens and the way you react as someone who struggles with anxiety and depression is that you can be a little extra than a regular person. I have been through some dark times,” she said on Radio Jambo.
Kansoul member Mejja battled depression after his wife left with his child while he was away on a business meeting. This sent him into a downward spiral of depression and at some point, he contemplated suicide.
“Suicide is a thought that crosses your mind, I can’t deny that. You feel suicidal because you look at other people’s happy lives and you feel that there is something wrong with your life. It crossed my mind but there was a friend of mine who would come and we would hang out and when the suicidal thoughts crossed my mind we would start talking about stuff like football so he kept me busy and away from my thoughts. But the problem was at night because the negative thoughts would creep in when you are alone. I rarely slept at night,” he revealed on Radio Jambo.
“It’s good to talk about depression, if you have friends reach out, call them, and see them physically because they lie sometimes that they are okay and they are not… And don’t believe everything you see on social media, because if I didn’t tell you my story you would never know. Don't wish for someone's life because you don’t know their story,” Mejja advised.
DJ Pierra Makena went through depression the worst time ever, during her pregnancy. A situation that prevented her from gaining weight and when she was 4 months pregnant, she weighed only 49 Kgs.
“It was terrible, I could not even gain weight and at 4 months pregnant, I was 49 Kgs.I couldn’t gain weight, I was not eating. The good thing is that my family is very close and when they realized I was going through depression, my sister moved in with me. I had a support system. Polepole, I started getting over it and after giving birth, 3 months later I started gaining weight. I ate njahĩs, ugali...as I was breastfeeding. Depression iliniingia mbaya sana, but I got out stronger,” she confessed on Radio Jambo.
NTV Presenter Grace Ekirapa opened up on battling depression and even attempting suicide twice.
She tried committing suicide in Class 8 and once again in Form 3. She took 18 Amoxil pills while in class 8 and in form 3 she decided to take her life once again and this time she upped the dose.
“In form 3, I took 35 pills this time because 18 didn’t kill me so 35 will. People did not understand why a 17-year-old would be committing suicide, why a 14-year-old would commit suicide,” She said.
Ekirapa disclosed that she felt like she was surrounded by constant negativity and people thought that she was faking her sickness to avoid school. Factors which made her feel like a burden.
“For me, it was the constant negativity around me. I grew up as a sickly child and people around me always thought I was faking sickness to get out of school. My own parent didn’t believe me and I thought ‘You know what, I am a burden so how about I just take my own life.’ and I tried twice but I didn’t die and I remember countlessly asking God why didn’t I die, why didn’t you take me?” she confessed.
Kiss 100’s Chito Ndlovu also opened up on a social media post about being severely depressed and attempting suicide 3 times.
“There is a time I tried to take my own life three times. I tried 3 times, I successfully failed. I was so deeply depressed, I didn’t want to hear about God, I didn’t want to hear a verse and it all didn’t make sense. At that point in my life, God felt far from me. I was in such a dark place I can’t even dare imagine going back there. Many of my friends had been ripped from my proximity by events but now I see it was God saving me.
Something else that brought tears to my eyes is; I was called every 3 months for 2 years since 2014 by the Programs Controller of Kiss FM to come and work for the organization. Every time we were about to seal the deal something stalled. I remember praying with my whole heart for God to open this door and it seemed far from me.
The day my appointment letter was being printed, it was printed among over 100 termination letters. While I was getting a new job over 100 people had just lost a source of income. Man can’t do that, God is the only one who can do such a thing. And here I am living that answered prayer, the thing I prayed is where I am. It gets my spirit excited like I am here for the time,” Chito disclosed.
YouTuber Maureen Waititu disclosed that she battled depression after separating with her baby daddy.
Ms Waititu said she went on to become deliberate about her healing and sought the help of a psychologist and a psychiatrist.
“It’s no secret that I just broke up with my boyfriend about six months ago and let me tell you guys it was tough and I remember not being able to know how to react. Of course let me tell you with anything break-up or grieving someone who’s past away or anything it’s just a process… trust the process. I trusted my process and that’s why I look like I’ve healed really but trust me I’ve not rushed my healing... You will have your denial stage, you will have your anger stage, you will have your crazy stage, you will have your negotiation stage, you will have your acceptance which personally I have come to and you will keep going back and forth until this entire process finishes what it started,” said Maureen Waititu.
“I was deliberate in my healing, I went to see a psychologist, I went to see a psychiatrist and I’ve been doing very well. I’m on medication and I’m not afraid to say it. Seek help,” she added.
Njoro the Comedian
In July 2020, Churchill show Comedian George Maina Njoroge alias Njoro the comedian opened up about battling depression and alcoholism.
He pointed out that towards the end of 2019, (October, November and December) life was very hard for him and he made a decision to throwing himself down a cliff but a stranger intervened and saved his life.
Attempted Suicide three times
“Ya kwanza nililamba dawa ya Panya, nilikuwa nalamba ka Glucose, ya pili nilibuy dawa ya Ng’ombe, hiyo nilikuwa nimeambiwa ukichapa ni hivyo, nilichapa hiyo. Ingine nilijaribu kujikata hapa kwa Mkono but Zote Zilifail.
October, November December, nilikuwa mbaya hata ukinotice Instagram yangu hiyo time sikuwa napost anything, ni state nilikuwa. Nilikuwa mbaya. Kuna ile time nilikucall, nilikuwa nataka kwenda kujipeana hapa View point, nilikuwwa nataka kwenda kurusha Gari na huko chini. Sijuwi mungu alituma nani, kuna mtu tu alikuja nikiwa naomba maombi ile ya Mwisho, I don’t know kama huyo mtu alisikia. Alikuwa na Lorry, aka park nyuma yangu na akahook gari yangu, sasa wakati nimemaliza maombi ya mwisho kwenda kudrive gari haiendi, Kumbe alikuwa amehook gari yangu nyuma, so akanishow hutafanya hii kitu unataka, so watu wakajaa hapo nikajitoa. But I was going there,” said Njoro.
In August, City Preacher Robert Burale opened up on the little known details about his life, revealing that he has attempted to commit suicide thrice.
Burale narrated that his first attempt was when he was studying in the United Kingdom (UK) and twice when he was back in Kenya.
“Actually I didn’t have suicidal thoughts, I tried committing suicide. There is a different, many people are having suicidal thoughts. Mimi I have tried it three times once when I was in the UK and twice in Kenya … 'maisha ilikuwa ngumu I could not even afford three meals a day.
I once ate toothpaste for dinner And not hygiene purposes. Sometimes when God wants you to go through a season he will block all the help, I thank God Many people ran away from Me, but I thank God it built me to the man I’m today. Today, nobody can come to me and tell me they have not eaten na niko na pesa nimnyime. I know hunger can make a grown man cry and that's why we saw in the reports the other day, 483 people committing suicide in three Months.
That’s close to three people a day and this are the things when you see like there is no light at the end of the tunnel … you just feel like if you gonna move you gonna collapse and that’s why people are getting into depression and suicidal thoughts” narrated Burale.
In May 2021, Kenya Rugby Sevens Player Dennis Ombachi opened up on his battle with bi-polar disorder and depression in a candid Twitter thread.
Ombachi narrates that he was medically diagnosed with bi-polar disorder some years back and he has been suffering in silence with only a few people aware of his struggles.
“I am Dennis Ombachi, kind of an International rugby player and a guy who’s passionate about cooking, what many people don’t know is that in a medically diagnosed with bi-polar disorder”
“Many years I have struggled with this & depression. I would usually disappear from social media & occasionally miss flights when I had made the team. This behaviour was always blamed on me “just being Dennis” What my coaches and team mates didn’t know was how much pain I was in” said Ombachi in part.
Bipolar- is a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
“For those who don’t know Bi-Polar disorder means my moods can swing from elation to depression without warning, however, as long as I take my medication, I’m usually good. This has taken a toll on my family life over the years and I am thankful for the support I have received
When I say family, Include the friends who have stuck by me and walked with me through the darkness all these years” he noted.
Ombachi also mentioned that he opted to share his story to raise awareness and remind those struggling with Mental Health that they are not alone.
International celebrities who have also opened about on battling depression in a mission to create awareness include; Dwayne Johnson, Actress Deepika Padukon, actor Chris Evans, filmmaker-producer Karan Johar, Emma Stone, Katy Perry, Jon Hamm, Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, Kristen Bell, Bruce Springsteen, Gwyneth Paltrow among others.
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