Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Wednesday launched the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan (2021-2025) to promote mental health among citizens.
Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health said the action plan provides a framework for the national, county governments and other key stakeholders to implement policies that promote the mental and psychological well-being of citizens.
“Through the plan, mental health and psychosocial support will be integrated into the emergency and humanitarian response especially in the response to COVID-19 pandemic as well as the long-term recovery strategy,” she said in Nairobi.
The plan seeks to decentralize mental health services and programs to primary health care at the community level as well as promote stigma reduction and preventive programs. And it targets to enroll all persons with mental health conditions in the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) that is to cover the out-patient costs, in-patient costs, treatment, and substance use rehabilitation costs and provide an essential health benefits package for comprehensive mental health services.
It also calls for the establishment of a commission for mental health and happiness and also establishes the directorate of mental health and substance use at the Ministry of Health.
According to the Ministry of Health, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous significant health, socio-economic and psychological impacts on the population, hence mental health and psychosocial support strategies and measures.
Kenya’s Ministry of Health through a mental health task force that was formed in 2019 indicates that the country has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, psychosocial disability, and premature mortality with huge gaps in access to care.
The task force estimates that one in every 10 people suffers from a common mental disorder and the number increases to one in every four people among patients attending routine outpatient services.
The country has a mental health act that was enacted in 1989 and a mental health policy in 2015-2030.