Mental health and wellbeing: Small business owners are often managing many aspects of their business simultaneously and may not have the luxury of delegating the task to someone else. While running one’s own business is perceived to entail greater personal freedom, the reality can often be very different. Self-employment can sometimes get stressful.
Small business owners are not only required to familiarise themselves with government and industry regulations and attend to the overall administrative aspects of the business, but also have to attend to business-related tasks such as responding to emails and phone calls, answering enquiries, and ensuring behind the scenes operations essential for the daily functioning of the business are met. All this can create a stressful environment that may not be safe for your wellbeing as a business owner.
Established in 1990, the Department of Mental Health, formerly Patient Support Centre (PSC) at Kenyatta National Hospital was set up to provide counseling services to mainly HIV patients.
Not just limited to one function, the Department of Mental Health has an array of functions – patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, besides alcohol and other substance use disorders also received counseling at this very unit.
According to existing data from the Ministry of Health, it is estimated that one in every 10 people suffer from a common mental disorder. The number increases to one in every four people among patients attending routine outpatient services.
Such information informs the reason KNH is at the forefront in offering mental health and the department has expanded over time including child psychiatry services. This is offered to all children from 1-12 years who have neuro-developmental and other childhood psychiatric psychosocial disorders.
His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the formation of the task-force, with the primary mandate to, study the status of mental health in the country, and recommend solutions to reform mental health systems.
The key findings of the Taskforce indicated that Kenya has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, psychosocial disability and premature mortality with huge gaps in access to care.
The Taskforce on Mental Health also recommended that mental illness should be declared a National Emergency of epidemic proportions, to prioritize mental health as a priority public health and socioeconomic agenda – and this why KNH is considering it a big deal to offer mental health services.
Majority of Kenyans associate mental health and mental illness with negative narratives leading to low focus on the importance and benefits of mental health and wellbeing.
For the youth, there is a service specifically meant for that group called Adolescent (Youth) Friendly Psychiatric and psychosocial services free of charge at KNH.
Sexual and Gender Based Violence psychological and social services are also part of the list of services being provided. With cases on the rise, there is a need to openly talk about the vice and KNH is at the frontline to offer help to the victims.
It goes without saying the call by FIDA for the government to declare femicide and gender-based violence in Kenya a national disaster with specific appeals for protection of girls and women.