Kenya launches Mental Health Action Plan

Health CAS Dr. Mercy Mwangangi speaking during the launch of Kenya Mental Health Action Plan. PHOTO/Courtesy.

The government has launched the Kenya Mental Health Action Plan.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr. Mercy Mwangangi officiated the launch Wednesday morning on behalf of Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

The Kenya Mental Health Action Plan 2021-2025, provides the framework for the country’s mental health transformational journey over the next five years. 

“For us to achieve this dream we must put concerted efforts and investment in implementing strategic actions and targets as set out in the plan,” said Dr. Mwangangi during the event which took place in a Nairobi hotel.

Mental health remains an integral pillar in Kenya’s health system and social-economic development, she said. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has made it a key government agenda, committing to invest and implement activities towards uplifting the mental health and wellbeing of all Kenyans.

The MHAP will provide a framework for National and County Governments as well as stakeholders to implement the Mental Health Policy and Taskforce Recommendations through strategic actions with specified targets and indicators.

The plan seeks to achieve to strengthen effective leadership and governance in mental health, implement programmes meant to promote mental health, ensure access to comprehensive, integrated and high-quality mental health services at all levels and strengthen mental health systems.

Dr. Mwangangi said to achieve these objectives, County Governments are expected to play a critical role as most health services and programs are devolved.

The implementation will also call for multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration between various Ministries, State Departments and Agencies

The plan seeks to decentralize mental health services and programmes to primary health care at the community level. Its implementation will be guided by evidence-based interventions, inclusivity, equity, human rights, multisectoral and life course approaches.

To ensure inclusivity; people with lived experiences, caregivers and their organizations will participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of the plan’s set programmes.

Some of the activities will include enhancing mental health literacy, addressing the determinants of mental health and reduction of risk factors. Other strategic actions are geared towards reorganizing, transforming and increasing coverage of services.

This will be achieved by establishing affordable services closer to communities, ensuring comprehensive quality care and developing person centered services. 

Through the plan, mental health and psychosocial support will be integrated in the emergency and humanitarian response especially in the response to COVID-19 pandemic as well as the long-term recovery strategy.

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