Young women with mental disorders in Kenya face challenges accessing mental health care information and services despite government efforts to provide support through the Kenya Mental Health Policy, launched in 2015.
How we are helping
This project will amplify the voice of young women mental health survivors to advocate for improved access to comprehensive mental health care information and services through initiatives to operationalise the Kenya Mental Health Policy.
About the project
Kenya is experiencing an upsurge of mental disorder cases with young women being the most affected. In 2019, government established a Taskforce on Mental Health comprised of a multi sectoral team from the Ministry of Health and other agencies. Key findings of the Taskforce indicate that Kenya has a high burden of mental illness due to ill health, psychosocial disability and premature mortality with significant gaps in access to care. In July 2020 the Taskforce recommended that mental illness should be declared a national emergency of epidemic proportions, to prioritise mental health as a priority public health and socio-economic agenda.
The Kenya Mental Health Policy was launched in 2015 to ensure the attainment of the highest standard of mental health provision. Project partners Women Prevention Centre will facilitate the meaningful participation of young women survivors in advocacy processes to draft an action plan to operationalise the policy.
This will be achieved through:
- Identifying and training 200 young women survivors as volunteer mental health policy champions for five days using the ‘training of trainers’ model.
- Convening a two-day meeting for young women survivors of mental health working on policy advocacy at the national, county and grassroots level to analyse the policy situation and advocacy opportunities through sharing their own experiences.
- Hosting panel discussion forums that will bring together young women survivors, policy makers, and care givers in a community dialogue to enrich the perspective of policy makers on the unique needs, realities and policy priorities for young women with mental disorders, providing an interface between survivors and policy makers.
- Holding a three-day residential workshop with experts to draft a Mental Health Action Plan together with guidelines and standards on promotion, prevention, care, treatment and rehabilitation of young women with mental, neurological and substance-use disorders for presentation to policy makers and other stakeholders during the advocacy forums.
- Holding at least 20 targeted policy advocacy forums with stakeholders to advance operationalisation of the Kenya Mental Health Policy.
- Creating short scripts on the effects of mental health among young women and the need to operationalise the Kenya Mental Health Policy for community outreach and sensitisation activities. Messages will be delivered through skits, poems, spoken words, songs, and pictorial expressions.
As a result of the project, it is anticipated that access to comprehensive mental health care information and services among young vulnerable women will be improved; advocacy skills and knowledge among young women survivors of mental health on their rights to quality healthcare will be increased; and stigma, discrimination and violence targeted at young women with mental disorders and survivors will be reduced.
Women Promotion Centre (WPC) is one of the leading young women-led CSOs in Kenya. WPC activities are organised into four main thematic areas: peace and governance, public health (including SRHR and mental health), economic empowerment, and education (improving literacy among young women and girls). Through these activities, WPC works towards a just, equitable and progressive society in which marginalised and vulnerable groups of (young) women fully enjoy social, economic and political rights and opportunities.
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