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Mental health in Kenya


According to a 2016 World Bank study, marginalized, discriminated, and vulnerable populations bear a greater burden of Mental Health illness. It is estimated that 1 in 10 persons will experience a mental illness of some description in their lifetime in Kenya. It is estimated that about 500,000 Kenyans suffer severe mental illness at any given time.

Policy, legal, and regulatory status of mental health

Mental Health Policy, 2015 – 2030

The policy seeks to address the following; To align the mental health services with the constitution of Kenya and with the National and Global health agenda. The policy also seeks to address the mental health systemic challenges, and emerging trends and mitigate the burden of mental disorders; Emphasizing the need to promote, respect, and observe the rights of persons with mental disorders in accordance with National and International laws.

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Mental Health Act, 2022

The Act has been termed one of the most progressive Acts of its kind in Africa and the world; an amendment of the outdated Mental Health Act of 1987

The act’s emphasis on community-based mental health care is in line with Articles 19 and 25 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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Mental Health Action Plan 2021-2025

The Mental Health – Action Plan provides a framework for both National and County governments and stakeholders to implement the mental health policy through strategic objectives with specified priority targets and indicators. It guides the implementation of recommendations by the task force on mental health with strategic actions and investments.

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National Guidelines on Workplace Mental Wellness

Recent changes in workplace practices significantly impacted the well-being and mental wellness of employees across the globe. The National guidelines on workplace mental wellness were developed to provide all organizations in Kenya with guidelines for promoting Mental health conditions and providing mechanisms for screening, linkage, care, and recovery for those already affected.

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Suicide Prevention Strategy 2021- 2026

The World Health Organization (WHO 2019) estimates Kenya’s age-standardized suicide rate to be 11.0 in 100,000. However, there is a scarcity of data on suicide in Kenya. Mental illness is often associated with suicidal behavior.

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