The Struggle to Treat Mental Illness in Kenya
Healthcare in Kenya has struggled to reach the portion of the country’s population afflicted with mental illness, particularly those in rural communities. With around one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people in the country, families struggle to find professional support services, and services that do exist are overtaxed and underresourced. Rather than seek medical help, religiously devout communities often turn to faith healers to treat what are commonly accepted as spiritual rather than medical diseases.
People with mental illness find their conditions compounded by poverty and diseases that go unidentified and untreated, facing significant HIV infection rates and vulnerability. Recent efforts by Kenya-based mental health advocacy organizations and foreign investments in the country’s mental health services have created hope for broader treatment and enfranchisement of the community in Kenya, which, like many developing countries, shoulders some of the highest mental health burdens in the world.
“The taboo of mental illness in Kenya” (Al Jazeera)
“Mental Health Care Still a Challenge in Rural Kenya” (Voice of America)
“11mn Kenyans suffer mental disorder – WHO” (Capital News)
“Double-edged stigma for people with mental illness and HIV” (Key Correspondents)
“Kenya benefits from $6.1 million fund for mental health” (Standard Digital)
“Fighting the ‘funk:’ How one Kenyan battles her mental health problems by helping others” (Public Radio International)
Africa Mental Health Foundation
(Image Credit: Osaman Mohamed Osaman/Al Jazeera)