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1 In Every 10 Kenyans Suffer From Common Mental Disorder – CS Mutahi Kagwe

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe during the launch of coronavirus isolation facility at Mbagathi hospital [Photo/Courtesy]

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has indicated that one out of every 10 Kenyans is suffering from a common mental disorder.

Addressing the media during the daily COVID-19 briefings at Afya House, the CS reiterated the concerns raised by the government concerning depression and gender-based violence.

“Since the pandemic, a good number of people have checked in hospitals with mental related cases. Among them is depression… New cases in family and gender-based violence have also been on the rise,” said the CS.

According to the CS, before COVID-19, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the formulation of a task force with the primary mandate to study the status of mental health in the country and recommend solutions to reform mental health systems.

Read: Uhuru Orders Probe On Increasing Gender-Based Violence Cases, Teenage Pregnancies Within 30 days

The task force was inaugurated on December 11, 2019, consisting of members from the Health Ministry and other relevant agencies under the leadership of Dr Frank Njenga.

“I am therefore delighted that today I received the final report from the task force on mental health. I in every 10 people suffer from a common mental disorder. Kenya’s mortality rate due to suicide is ranked 29 worldwide,” said the CS.

Further, the CS indicated that depression and anxiety disorders are the leading mental illnesses in the country followed by substance use disorders.

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In addressing this, Kagwe stated that so far the country’s bed capacity for mental health is at 1,600 adding that there are four public facilities providing treatment and rehabilitation services for substance use disorder.

The task force revealed that Kenya has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, premature mortality and huge gaps in access to care. Further, a majority of Kenyans associate mental health and mental illnesses with negative narratives leading to low focus on the same

The task force recommended the establishment of a mental health commission and happiness to advise and continuously monitor mental health status and report on the annual National Happiness index.

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The state has also been advised to declare mental illness as a national emergency of epidemic proportions to prioritize mental health as a priority.

The task force also called on the provision of adequate financing on mental health in line with international best practices.

“In addition to the construction of a world-class mental health facility, this ministry is committed to also training and ensuring that we have the top-notch facilities resources in mental health care,” said Kagwe.

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Written by Mercy Auma

Passionate about human interest stories and politics. Email

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