Championing Mental Health and Well-being during and post COVID-19

Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community. Mental well-being is influenced by: social, psychological, and biological factors.

While we acknowledge that mental health is an important component of human health, it has been a neglected one for that matter especially in the African context, Kenya included. Fortunately, in the last few years we have witnessed a spike in action to bring to light the significance of mental health followed by launch of the Kenya Mental Health Policy in 2016 and inaugural Mental Health Conference on 21st and 22nd November 2019. During the conference the President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta tasked the Ministry of Health to establish a task force to research and give guidance for response to mental health crisis in the country.

With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) wreaking havoc all over the globe, psychological impacts are projected to be profound ranging from the immediate effects to long-term consequences of the devastation caused. On the backdrop of all the advances that were made, unless structured and responsive measures are put in place, we will be in for a rude shock.

Based on these, we hosted a meeting to:

  1. Establish the mental health situation in Kenya: outline advances made and gaps that still exist
  2. Outline imminent psychological impacts of COVID-19 ranging from the immediate, spill over from social and economic impacts and long-term impacts.
  3. Evoke action from mental health champions, aspiring champions, psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and people with lived experiences towards creating a mentally healthy society.

AuthorDr. Odhiambo David, Co-founder, Ryculture Health and Social Innovation

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