The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health Sicily Kariuki today announced a Taskforce to assess mental health systems and mental wellbeing of Kenyans.
“Indeed, we are greatly concerned by the rising trends of suicide mortality, acts of violence and the burden of mental health conditions. Hence on behalf of Kenyan citizens, the taskforce has a responsibility to assess the causes of the increase in mental ill-health occurrences and recommend transformative solutions to the epidemics,” the CS said after inaugurating the team at a Nairobi Hotel.
The task force is expected to assess the mental health systems including the legal, policy and administrative environment to identify areas that may benefit from reform, for optimal delivery.
In addition, the CS said, the team Co-chaired by Dr. Frank Njenga and MOH shall seek to identify plans of synergy among existing enabler legislation and policies for the effective implementation of the recommended solutions.
She urged the team to broadly consider the changing societal dynamics and associated threats to mental well-being such as substance abuse, gambling, sexual and gender-based violence, cyberbullying, child abuse and neglect and highlighted that the identification and promotion of positive attributes and opportunities to safeguard the mental well-being of all individuals in a sustainable and all-encompassing mechanism is key.
The CS also noted that the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda has mental health as a priority focus area to ensure an increase in access to mental health services with a reduced financial burden.
She said the investments earmarked for UHC aim to strengthen the health systems at both National and County levels of Government with a strong focus on primary health care to promote the health and mental wellbeing of the population through early identification, person-centered and responsive mental health interventions.
“It is therefore imperative that the systems for the prevention and those of delivering care for mental ill-health are in harmony,’ she added