Dear Mr President, will today's Trillion budget address why 9 out of 10 Kenyans have not seen any efforts by the gov't to promote a mentally healthy country and plans to change that?

10:37:00 AM

With Dr. Nato from World Health Organization during survey launch
Yesterday by invitation of International Institute of Legislative Affairs, I attended the launch of a survey they had commissioned Ipsos Synovate to do on public perception on mental health in the country. The research was done across the country in both urban and rural households and captured different income brackets from public servants to the unemployed. Some of the figures that struck me;
 - 9 out of 10 Kenyans have no clue if the government is doing anything to promote a mental healthy country (93%)
- 3 out of 10 Kenyans in both rural and urban settings strongly believe mental health conditions are as a result of witchcraft (this reminded me of the post I did on the beliefs by some students at Daystar university being similar to those of Kibera residents who have minimal formal education, it just resounded how much we need to have more awareness campaigns on mental health.
- As much as 5 out 10 Kenyans confirmed to knowing someone with a mental health condition, only 5% admitted to having a relative or living with someone with a mental health condition. This spoke stigma and shame to me. It said, this is an illness for those people in those other households.


Today I think all governments in East Africa are reading their budgets and I hear ours is in the trillions. Currently mental health get 0.00 something % of the health budget which is just enough for admin purposes in the department or is it unit now that the division was done away with? The amount is so minimal, y'all remember the Mathari Hospital break out last year? Mr. President, it is all rosy to speak about Vision 2030, post 2015 agenda, have you jetting in and out of the country in the name of partnership and selling the country to attract investors but if we do not have a mentally health nation, we are wasting time, resources and space on earth.

Earlier in the year, I was invited to Kenya@50 legacy something lol, forgotten how they had packaged it well to mark Kenya at 50 where the govt Secretariat and Safaricom Foundation donated KES 50 million to Mathari Hospital for rehabilitation ie paint some walls, repair some bed and hopefully stigma will reduce and everything will be rosy (this is me being sarcastic) This survey shows that Mathari Hospital rehabilitation is the least of our problems as far as building a mentally health country. The following are areas that should be of concern and I am eager to see if this trillion totaling budget will address them;
1. Integration and provision of affordable, accessible and acceptable mental health services across the divide. That is in the counties and to the primary most health facilities and NO, we do not want those service offered in the farthest corner of the hospital that used to be a store and kinda still serves as the store.
2. Efforts of collaboration especially with sectors like Drug and Substance Abuse (yes NACADA I am talking to you), Road Safety and most of all awareness creation, it is high time we realized the interlink in these areas and instead of doing expensive stand alone and neglecting others, lets have a joint approach to getting to Vision 2030 or wherever it is Kenya is going (I get lost sometimes)
3. LEGISLATION; both finally finalizing the process (Dr. Kiima, you told me you read this blog so Sir, I kindly ask you, lets start other conversations, this back and forth with the bill, policy, act is getting boring) and implementation.
4. AWARENESS CREATION (it is self explanatory)

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