Ministry intensifies efforts towards youth mental well being.



Ministry intensifies efforts towards youth mental well being

Makueni, KENYA October, 12, 2018: The Ministry of Health marked the World Mental Health Day on Thursday October 11 in which, the Ministry announced it is stepping up efforts to address the growing challenge of mental illness among the youth.


The Director of Medical Services (DMS), Dr. Jackson Kioko, who was the guest of honor at the event themed ‘young people and mental health in a changing world,’ said the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) will increase the population of young people under health insurance cover and improve access to quality health services to protect them from associated financial burden.

He noted the ministry has prioritized youth mental health as a key strategic action in the Kenya Mental Health policy (2015-2030) to enable the youth to access user friendly targeted interventions to enhance their resilience and mitigate risk factors.

“This will ensure early identification and effective management of mental disorders, substance abuse and suicidal behavior,” he said.

Dr. Kioko observed that 60 percent of the Kenyan population are young people aged 10-24, facing mental health risks associated with human rights violations, wars and violence, substance abuse, sexual, reproductive and gender identity issues, obesity and overweight problems, HIV infections, information communication technology related cyber bullying and changes in socioeconomic and climatic environment.

The prevalence rate of common mental illness in the country stands at 10.3% percent with lifetime prevalence rate of suicidal thoughts of 7.9 percent and 1.9% lifetime prevalence rates of suicidal attempts,

“It is worrying that 25-40 percent of persons attending general medical facilities in Kenya have symptoms of mental illness mostly depression and anxiety,” he said.

He pointed out that young people need safe space with an environment that promotes care, affection, love, other emotional and social support, in order to address behavioral challenges and exposure or pressure to risky behavior that negatively impact on their health.

He noted that the young people mental health has major impact on families, communities and the country’s health and socioeconomic development and called for effective evidence based multi-sectoral interventions.

“It’s the role and responsibility for all of us, the young people, parents, teachers, leaders and community in general to take collective actions ensuring young people remain and stay healthy,” He said.

World Mental Health Day is a global event commemorated annually on 10th October focusing on a key mental health issue with an overall objective of raising awareness and mobilizing support towards strategies addressing the issue.