, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – Kenya has adopted the Kenyan Health Mental Policy 2015-2030 in a bid to shift national attention to mental illnesses, a long-neglected issue.
According to statistics detailed in the policy, recently mental, neurological and substance use disorders have become common affecting more than 25 percent of Kenyans at some point in their lifetime.
The policy launched by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu estimate that 20-40 percent of patients seen in primary care have one or more mental disorders.
“It is a signal that mental health deserves much higher strategic priority because it is key to socio-economic development of the nation, and must therefore be safeguarded by policy directives and legislation,” he stated.
Mailu says that by 2020, the burden of mental, neurological and substance use disorders will be 15 percent of the total disability-adjusted life years higher than the 12 percent in 2000.
“The Mental Health Policy is firmly rooted in the principles of human rights, and draws support from a number of international conventions,” he said.
The policy, he said presents a tremendous opportunity to overcome many of the challenges facing the country in providing, “appropriate mental health services to her people.”