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County to roll out community- based mental health services

The Nakuru County Director for Medical Services, Dr. Daniel Wainaina on Wednesday said the Nakuru county administration is in the process of strengthening access to community-based mental and psychosocial support services to reduce stigma and offer client-specific service.

Dr. Wainaina said community-based services can provide support that is tailored to the specific needs and cultural context of the community, adding that mental health services that are culturally sensitive and locally relevant are more likely to be accepted and utilized by the people.

Speaking during a sensitization workshop for health workers held at a Nakuru hotel, the Medical services director noted that community-based services can reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues.

“When mental health services are integrated into the community, people are more likely to seek help, as accessing services becomes a normal part of the community’s lifestyle,” Dr. Wainaina said.

He emphasized that community-based services are well-positioned to identify mental health issues at an early stage because intervention is crucial for preventing the escalation of mental health problems and improving long-term outcomes for individuals.

The medical director said they are supporting quicker, and nearer contact in line with the 2022 Mental Act of Parliament, which provides for prevention, care, treatment, and rehabilitation of persons with mental illness.

Dr. Wainaina said the implementation of community-based mental health services was a more holistic approach, which addresses not only the individual’s needs, but also considers social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to everyone’s mental well-being.

Additionally, he said consolidating community-based services involves engaging and empowering the community through training, and fostering a sense of collective responsibility for mental health, instead of individualizing it.

Dr. Wainaina further said community-based services are more cost-effective compared to centralized or hospital-based services, and would eventually make mental health services more sustainable in the long term.

He said integrating mental health services into primary care settings within communities can ensure that mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health, hence leading to better overall health outcomes.

By Veronica Bosibori

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