Nairobi, Kenya – December 11, 2019 – The Taskforce on Mental Health has been constituted following a Cabinet directive, with its primary mandate being to study the status of mental health in Kenya, related determinants and contributing risks factors to ill mental health and recommend transformative solutions to reform mental health systems.
The emerging epidemic with the rising trend of suicide, gender based violence and other mental health conditions are indicative of the unmet needs domiciled in society. In addition, stigma and discrimination contributes to, perpetuates and marginalizes persons with mental health conditions, psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities.
The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program has mental health as a priority focus area to ensure improved access to mental health services with reduced financial burden. The investments earmarked for UHC aim to strengthen primary health care that leans towards preventive and promotive health. The care will therefore be anchored on early identification, person centered and responsive mental health interventions with a human rights and recovery oriented approach.
The Taskforce constituted comprises of experts from academia, research, mental health profession, youth empowerment, social sciences and health governance. The team will lead a consultative and participatory process to hear from stakeholders on this duty bestowed on them. This multi-faceted skill mix is anticipated to tap into the collective wealth of knowledge and expertise to transform mental health systems and the mental well-being of Kenyans.
The Taskforce was urged to consider the changing societal dynamics and associated threats to mental health as well identify and promote positive societal attributes that will safeguard the mental well-being of all individuals. In line with this, the Taskforce is expected to assess the mental health systems including the legal, policy and administrative environment to identify areas that may benefit from reform; as well as identify planes of synergy among existing enabler legislations and policies for effective implementation of the recommended solutions.
The Ministry of Health therefore, affirms the commitment of support to the Taskforce and looks forward to implementing recommendations that will be derived from this important endeavor.