NAIROBI, Kenya, August 6 – Over 11 million Kenyans are currently suffering from some sort of mental disorder, according to a study done by the World Health Organisation.
The study has attributed the problem to lack of proper plans to deal with the illness properly and insufficient treatment.
To tackle the problem, stakeholders in the health sector are advocating for the integration of mental medical facilities in both public and private hospitals.
Director of Mental Health Ministry of Health, Davis Kiima says mental disorders should not be ignored and should be taken seriously seeing that the illness contributes significantly to the increase of poverty levels in the country.
“Mental health and mental disorders have been neglected in the world over and the reason being it is ill understood. Mental health is something each one of us requires. It adds value to our living in terms of decision making and in terms of relationship and this is why Kenya has formulated its first mental health policy,” he said.
“People with mental disorders that are not recognised actually do not go to work so there is lack of productivity because of sickness. And majority of Kenyans are suffering from minor mental illnesses which include depression and anxiety. Each time you hear someone has committed suicide, majority of them have been suffering from minor mental illness and they did not recognise and if they did they where unable to sick help.”
Program Officer Mental Health and Tobacco Control at the World Health Organisation Joyce Nato says mental disorders are the leading cause of ill health and deaths worldwide having 65 percent of deaths caused by this disorder.
Nato says the importance of mental health conditions should be prioritised and policies should be implemented by all governments.
“If the mental health policy is in place then it is easier for the governments to then prioritise these conditions. We all require good mental health but unfortunately when we talk of mental health many people see mental disorders. The policy will mainly focus on how Kenyans can achieve and have good mental health and those who have disorders they can be managed effectively,” she said.