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.
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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.”