What you need to know:
- There are four public facilities which provide treatment and rehabilitation services for substance use disorders.
- There are 14 county hospitals which have mental health units which offer specialised mental healthcare.
The Covid-19 pandemic, whose cases hit 8,250 Tuesday, has worsened depression and anxiety disorders in the country.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe Tuesday revealed that one in every 10 Kenyans suffers from a common mental disorder, and the number increases to one in every four people among patients attending routine outpatient services.
He said increased gender-based violence and family strife is due to psychosocial issues which “have compounded the problem of the current pandemic.”
He said the ministry had received a report from the Taskforce on Mental Health outlining the status of mental health in the country and giving recommendations.
He said the report indicates that alcohol abuse contributes to the largest burden of substance use related illnesses in the country, and is most prevalent in young people of between 18 and 29 years.
He expressed concerns over the increased cases of suicide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Kenya’s suicide mortality rate stands at 5.6 per 100,000 people, and the country is ranked 29th globally. The country’s mental healthcare bed capacity is 1,600 out of which 400 are in the private sector.
Currently there are four public facilities which provide treatment and rehabilitation services for substance use disorders, and 14 county hospitals which have mental health units which offer specialised mental healthcare, he said.
Dr Frank Njenga, who chaired the taskforce expressed concern about stigma associated with mental illness.
“People are so afraid and shy of indicating that they suffer from depression or any other mental health illness that they would rather stay with their illnesses at home than expose themselves to the shame of confirming that they are humans, and suffer from mental illnesses,” he said, adding that there is need to establish structures and systems to deal with stigma.