Leonard Nasoro, a mental health specialist from Kilifi, Kenya says that Kilifi County in Kenya has three practicing mental health specialists against a population of about 1.4 million. Mental health is allocated less than 0.5% of the general health budget. In Kenya, out of 47 counties, only 22 have a mental health specialist.
“Understanding your mental health, gives you a better standard of life. But though Mental health is part of the general health system, very little funding is made available compared to fields like maternal and child health, reproductive issues, TB, and HIV, including funds for specialist training. Mental health is neglected right from the policy level,” says Leonard Nasoro, a mental health specialist from Kilifi, Kenya.
Late diagnosis heavily impacts service delivery and dealing with mental health. But why are there very few experts?
Elias Fondo, the Kilifi County Mental Health Clinical officerwarns that with the rising mental illness burden, the institutional-based form of managing mental health will not work “but rather investing in community psychiatry to help identify early symptoms of mental illnesses among their communities to and advise them to seek help on time.”
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.