One in four Kenyans is mentally ill – Health CAS Aman

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 08:20 |
Health Chief Administrative Secretary CAS-Rashid-Aman: PHOTO/courtesy
Health Chief Administrative Secretary CAS-Rashid-Aman: PHOTO/courtesy

At least one in every four Kenyans is diagnosed with mental illness during their life, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has revealed.

While Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman stated that about 40 per cent of those diagnosed are admitted at in patient facilities, the key challenge to proper mental health is lack of research and stigma.

Dr Simon Njuguna, the director of Mental Health in the MOH says limited access to quality care, beside weak leadership and governance mechanisms in priotizing mental care contribute to other key challenges.

“While COVID-19 is a health crisis it can be a major mental health crisis if action is not taken. Reducing the effects of mental health requires a multi-sectoral effort,” UNDP Country Deputy Resident representative, Mandisa Mashologu. added.

In June 1, 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta indicated in his official Madaraka Day speech that the country was facing a mental health crisis and ordered the Ministry of Health to implement programmes and policies to address the problem.

A Cabinet meeting held later on November 21, 2019 went further and directed the formation of a Mental Health Taskforce to address the mental health concerns of Kenyans and help guide the government on resource allocation for mental health.

While having the multi-sectoral forum on Kenya mental health on Monday, May 17, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Dr Rudi Eggers said mental health is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults.

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