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An academy launched to build capacity for mental health practioners

The Chiromo Mental Health Hospital  in partnership with key stakeholders in the healthcare sector has launched an Academy for Mental Health practice in a move that is aimed at capacity building for mental health practitioners.
The Academy seeks to train and equip healthcare practitioners with knowledge, skills and attitude that will enable them be effective in their clinical practice.
Speaking yesterday during the launch of the academy, AMREF International University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Marion Mutugi emphasized on the timeliness of this programme for healthcare practitioners in Mental Health.
“We are pleased with this partnership with Chiromo Mental Health Hospital to provide an Advanced Diploma in Applied Mental Health Practice at the Academy of Mental Health Practice,” she said.
The programme, Dr. Mutugi added will help equip the practitioners with practical skills required to be more effective when seeing the patients, a move that will help aid with the prevention and advocacy for mental health and by extension help eradicate the stigma surrounding it.
The criteria for accreditation by the academy will be dependent on peer affirmation to ensure that the standards of quality are maintained.
Dr. Frank Njenga, Chairman, Chiromo Mental Health Hospital said that for a long time, a gap has existed among trainees after their tertiary education, leaving them unable to effectively handle patients.
“It is for that reason that Chiromo Mental Health Hospital alongside partners like AMREF International University decided to start the Academy for Mental Health Practice to bridge the existing gap and help bring a difference to the practice,” he said.
A recent survey by the World Health  Organization revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted or completely halted critical mental health services, an area that is already underfunded with governments spending less than 2 per cent of their national health budgets on mental health.
Mohammed Nyaoga, Chairman, Central Bank of Kenya who was the chief guest lauded the move by Chiromo Mental Health Hospital to launch the academy saying it will ensure mental health is given a holistic approach starting at the community level.
“For the Academy of Mental Health to be successful, we must ensure that our aim is to inspire, influence and impact the community around us. Most importantly we must conduct regular audits to ensure that the standards are being maintained,” he added.
“The future of mental health awareness lies in our ability to be courageous, share our stories and relay accurate information. Through digital platforms we can reach as many people as possible, right from the comfort of their home,” said Gathoni Mbugua, Chiromo Mental health hospital Psychologist & Head of Digital Relations
She challenged all stakeholders to be mental health champions in every space that they occupy as the journey towards breaking the stigma, and normalizing the conversation on mental health continues.
The Academy for Mental Health Practice will be a partnership run by Chiromo Mental Health Hospital and the AMREF International University who will provide Advanced Diploma in Applied Mental Health. The course is set to take one year and the first cohort is set to kick off in January 2021.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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