Kenya observes world mental health day to prevent suicide

Nairobi [KENYA] October 10, 2019 – Today is World Mental Health Day !
The World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
This year’s theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” raises awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.
In Kenya, the WHO (2016) estimates age standardized suicide mortality rate to be 5.6 for 100,000 of population and 10.3% prevalence rate of common mental illness which include depression and  anxiety disorders. 42% of those attending general medical facilities have symptoms of severe depression.
The Government has taken reduction measures by prioritizing suicide prevention as a key strategic action in the Mental Health Policy and implementation of Presidential directive on multisectoral policy response on mental health issues.
Currently, the Ministry of Health is training primary and community health workers to enable them to identify mental health problems in communities especially persons going through adversity and refer people with suicidal behaviour for further interventions and support.
The government has also intensified efforts towards restriction of access to possible means of suicide.
“The Ministry of Health through provision of universal health care will improve access to mental health services ensuring early identification and effective management of mental disorders and harmful use of alcohol and other substances,” said Dr. Simon Njuguna, Director of Mental Health in the Ministry of Health.
Worldwide, 800,000 people die by suicide each year – one every 40 seconds – making it the second leading cause of death among young people (aged 15 to 29), the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
Suicide is the result of a risk factors including but not limited to genetic, biochemical, psychological, social and cultural sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss.
Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide he noted.
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We must make it easier for people to get the help they need.