Advancing the Mental Health Strategy for Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25, 2017 – The Ministry of Health stakeholders from counties, private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations met on Tuesday to discuss the draft Kenya Mental Health Strategy 2017-2021, that will spearhead the implementation of the Mental Health Policy 2015-2030.

The Kenya Mental Health Policy was launched in May 2016 to ensure significant reduction in the overall ill health in Kenya in line with the country’s Vision 2030 and the Constitution of Kenya.

The policy provides for a framework on interventions for securing mental health reforms in Kenya and seeks to address the systematic challenges, emerging trends and mitigate the burden of mental health problems and disorders.

According to the Director of Mental Health, Dr. Simon Njuguna the strategy aim is to address mental health issues in relation to leadership and governance, health services, human resources, health financing, infrastructure, health products and technologies, Health Information System and Research, advocacy and partnerships, vulnerable groups and social cultural perspectives.

He noted that mental health is a key determinant of overall health and socioeconomic development and since mental health interventions cut across other sectors, a multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach is vital.

“There is a great need for the private sector to invest in mental health and feel the existing gaps especially in human resource to supplement government efforts,” he alluded.

Among the issues discussed were; ways of strengthening effective leadership and governance for mental health, implementation of strategies for promotion of mental, prevention of mental and substance use disorders, strengthening mental health systems, providing comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings and strengthening of information systems, evidence and research for mental health.

The two documents “Kenya Mental Health Strategy 2017-2021,” and the “Kenya Mental Health Policy 2015-2030,” are in line with the Kenya Vision 2030, Constitution of Kenya and Global Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 and will help steer the country towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (3).