A task force on mental health wants mental illness declared a national health emergency.
Speaking while submitting the report to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, the Taskforce chaired by Dr Frank Njenga said one in every 10 people in Kenya suffers from a common mental disorder, with depression and anxiety the leading cases of mental disorders.
The task force said mental health issues are deep-rooted and it is high time they are given the attention they deserve. To this end, the task force has recommended the setting up of a Mental Health Commission to monitor people’s happiness levels and provide a report annually.
Dr Frank Njenga said the formation of a responsible commission to monitor the mental health of Kenyans should be a priority.
“We are recommending an equally decisive declaration by our government that recognizes that too many people are dying either by suicide or by the root of gender-based violence and we suggest that such a move will and can save lives,” he said.
The taskforce also wants the Government to fund mental health services in order to encourage Kenyans to open up and share their problems without fear of how much it will cost them to treat mental disorders.
The Njenga-led team further wants the State to put in place strategies for dealing with the stigma associated with mental illness saying the sick are suffering in silence.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said the Country has witnessed rising cases of gender violence during the COVID 19 pandemic period adding that a huge number of Kenyans continue to check into hospitals with mental illness cases.
“These psychosocial issues have compounded the problem of the current pandemic. The rising number of mental health-related issues such as depression some of which have ended up in suicide has been a concern to the government,” Kagwe said.