#mentalhealth and The National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD)

7:14:00 PM

Know your rights

Is having a mental health condition really considered as a disability? I have heard (and had) this conversation over and over and over and over I have asked, what is a disability? I know there is a school of thought which wont read this post because they out rightly don't believe in the word disability as it implies we are 'accepting defeat' I am also aware there is a group that write off mental health conditions as disabilities. Which begs the question, what 'makes' a disability? There are other terms used interchangeably and may not necessarily mean the same; handicap and impairment, for the sake of communication for the rest of this post, I will use the word, disability.

Back to my question, what is a disability? does one have to have a visible 'deformity' or 'malfunction' for them to be in that bracket? because mine is in my head, does that automatically disqualify it from being a disability? In my long and short, a disability is any restriction that hinders you from performing day to day activities as per 'expected norms'. This restriction can be physical; eye, ears, legs, hands etc or mental. Due to these restrictions, most people living with disabilities face loads of discrimination and abuse from various fronts because they don't bow down to the 'expected norms'.

To counter that, the UN came up with The convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which loads of countries including Kenya are a signatory to. Kenya's Constitution has a definition of disability under Article 260 and speaks of human rights in various articles.

Mental Health Conditions

As you well know, my politics is always on Mental Health Conditions and I had a conversation with Michael Njenga, CEO of USPK and our point guy in the National Council of persons with disabilities (NCPWD).

Before we set off, not all mental conditions are considered disabilities, but if a condition affects ones ability to go on with day to day activities, they are group under disabilities and are also known as psychosocial disabilities. As mentioned, Kenya's national body for persons living with disabilities is NCPWD. Among the things people living with mental health conditions can benefit from NCPWD include;
1.       Tax exemption

If in employment you will be exempted from paying P.A.Y.E (Pay As You Earn) up to an amount of Kes 150,000 per month by Kenya Revenue Authority.

2.       Procurement

This is applicable to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) who have registered businesses/companies in line with the 30% procurement law provisions benefiting youths, women and PWDs.

3.       Education grants

This programme aims to improve persons with disabilities enrolment, retention and completion of education cycle for the eventual engagement in decent and gainful employment.

4.       Job placement

The Job Placement Department deals with analyzing market information trends in order to disseminate market intelligence to the PWDs.

5.       Legal Services

It provides professional legal services to Persons with Disabilities.

6.       Economic Empowerment

The Fund provides grants to Community and Self Help Groups for Economic Empowerment or Revolving Fund Schemes.

- Should be in a group
- Should be members of NCPWD through
- A colored passport sized photo
- A copy of a medical report from  government gazetted hospitals (assessment is carried out in designated district hospital throughout the country )
- Dully filled individual registration form from NCPWD.
Once this documents are submitted to NCPWD a card is issued within a period of less than three months or longer.
Go ahead and get your NCPWD membership to enjoy this benefits. I will starting my registration sometimes soon and will keep y'all updated on the progress and ease (or difficulty) in registration.

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  1. while there continues to be a lot of advancements for the way of treating mental Ailments for the past 50 years, there may be still an certain stigma surrounding your own views from mental illness. Most people still mistakenly believe It somebody using a mental illness will be quickly lazy or maybe they will certainly place blame to the parents whether or not your own patient is really a child. Kevin Perelman