Improving access to mental health care in Kenya

Improving access to mental health care in Kenya Purpose – The aim of this paper is to review the history of mental health service improvement in Kenya, to discuss current provision of services, challenges to the provision of services and future needs for services. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a literature review. Findings – Mental health care in Kenya has been a progressing field, though the momentum of progress has been less than desired. The reasons for this are complex including a lack of evidence of the size of the mental health burden which has undermined the political will to focus scarce resources in this area, lack of human resources, models of prevention, and robust mental health legislation. Traditional healers have a significant place in mental health care, these plus efforts to increase training on mental health, task shifting for other clinicians and also prevention may be important steps in improving access to care. Research limitations/implications – The review highlights how much remains to be done to improve mental health services in Kenya. It demonstrates the need for good epidemiological and intervention data to support a multi‐level approach, involving government, non‐governmental organizations, communities, families, affected individuals and other stakeholders. Prevention and treatment strategies should be streamlined and emphasis put on stigma reduction as well as provision of accessible, acceptable, sustainable and affordable care. Practical implications – A review of the literature is useful to highlight what is known but also what information is missing and is needed to go forward. Originality/value – This is the first system level historical review of the development of mental health services in Kenya. It offers a model for investigation that may be useful for others. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care Emerald Publishing

Improving access to mental health care in Kenya

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1757-0980
D.O.I.
10.1108/17570981111249239
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to review the history of mental health service improvement in Kenya, to discuss current provision of services, challenges to the provision of services and future needs for services. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a literature review. Findings – Mental health care in Kenya has been a progressing field, though the momentum of progress has been less than desired. The reasons for this are complex including a lack of evidence of the size of the mental health burden which has undermined the political will to focus scarce resources in this area, lack of human resources, models of prevention, and robust mental health legislation. Traditional healers have a significant place in mental health care, these plus efforts to increase training on mental health, task shifting for other clinicians and also prevention may be important steps in improving access to care. Research limitations/implications – The review highlights how much remains to be done to improve mental health services in Kenya. It demonstrates the need for good epidemiological and intervention data to support a multi‐level approach, involving government, non‐governmental organizations, communities, families, affected individuals and other stakeholders. Prevention and treatment strategies should be streamlined and emphasis put on stigma reduction as well as provision of accessible, acceptable, sustainable and affordable care. Practical implications – A review of the literature is useful to highlight what is known but also what information is missing and is needed to go forward. Originality/value – This is the first system level historical review of the development of mental health services in Kenya. It offers a model for investigation that may be useful for others.

Journal

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social CareEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 15, 2011

Keywords: Mental health; Kenya; Prevention; Treatment; Mental health services; Patient care

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