What you need to know:
- Kenya has also developed the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan to operationalise the Kenya Mental Health Policy.
- Recently, the ministry launched the suicide Prevention Strategy, which provides critical interventions whose implementation will reduce suicide-related deaths.
Kenyans will soon be able to access psychiatric services remotely through telemedicine.
This is after the government and healthcare company Johnson & Johnson signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable people to access mental health care through the use of telecommunications technology.
The deal will also see Kenyans have access to quality mental healthcare services and drugs as part of the government’s efforts to tackle the rising mental health burden in the country.
The company will also develop an approach for sustainable access to essential and innovative medicines to treat severe mental illness, focusing on Schizophrenia in the public sector.
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel or behave clearly.
The exact cause of Schizophrenia isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment, altered brain chemistry, and structure may play a role.
Schizophrenia is characterised by thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganised speech or behaviour and decreased participation in daily activities. There may also be difficulty with concentration and memory problems.
Treatment is lifelong and often involves a combination of medications, psychotherapy and coordinated specialty care services.
“The Ministry of Health expresses its gratitude to Johnson & Johnson for partnering with the Kenyan government to tackle the mental health burden, manifested by growing suicide cases, gender-based violence and child abuse cases,” Health PS Susan Mochache said.
“Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson touches on mental healthcare priority areas, and the ministry is optimistic that this partnership will bear demonstrable impact nationwide for the next five years.”
Kenya has also developed the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan to operationalise the Kenya Mental Health Policy.
Recently, the ministry launched the suicide Prevention Strategy, which provides critical interventions whose implementation will reduce suicide-related deaths.
According to the World Health Organization, suicide is a leading cause of mortality and remains the fourth leading cause of death among 15–19-year-olds.
In Kenya, there is a scarcity of data on suicide due to under-reporting, which is associated with, among other factors, the criminalisation of suicide under the Penal Code, leading to fear of stigma and persecution and a lack of a formal data collection mechanism for suicide data.
“Families, friends, school friends, work colleagues and communities affected or bereaved by suicide or suicide attempts are often left without assistance. Silence and stigma prevent those in need from seeking help,” said acting Health Director-General Patrick Amoth.