When will mental health issues be taken seriously in Kenya? Surely, there can never be health without mental health. Doesn’t every Kenyan need access to mental health services just like physical health services? I see the last time anybody amended the Mental Health Act was 1989 surely, yet our country has outgrown this. Does something tell me that Kenya still kind of lags behind because we have misplaced priorities? I mean, I mental wellness is key when you’re even talking about universal health coverage!? Now, as we face the COVID-19 Pandemic, with physical distancing, isolation, and quarantine, don’t we need a safety net of a kind in our country now? Otherwise, we will aren’t we sitting on a mental health time bomb after this pandemic? An enabled Counseling Psychologist like me doesn’t even know where to start in being of service to my country!?
COVID-19 AND MENTAL HEALTH IN KENYA
The COVID-19 response in Kenya has no formal mental health response plan. There is an unmet need for psychological first aid in the community. While guidelines for the management of mental health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been prepared, implementation remains a major challenge due to a poorly resourced mental health system. There is no mental health surveillance system in place limiting ability to design evidence-based interventions.