Culture – a panacea to the high mental health treatment gap?

by Sophie Mbugua

Mental health problems in Kenya and Africa are often interpreted from either a religious or traditional perspective influenced by a person’s cultural perceptions. These perceptions impact not just the provision of care but also determines if and where people seek help. The World Health Organization (WHO) says a growing number of people with mental illness are not receiving mental health care and treatment. Estimates indicate an 85 percent ‘treatment gap’ for low and middle-income countries.

Also listen to previous episodes on mental health 

But a high number of people opt to seek help from either a religious leader or a traditional healer, depending on their cultural beliefs. Can culture help bridge the treatment gap?

The episode is part of the mental health and climate change series, made possible by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.

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