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County training mental health volunteers to tackle illness

The Nyeri County Department of Health Services in partnership with other stakeholders has started training mental health workers to help deal with increasing mental cases in the region.

Speaking at Whispers Park in Nyeri town during an occasion to mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, the outgoing health services Chief Officer, Newton Wambugu, said the county has enlisted 2,500 community health volunteers to help people with mental cases.

The World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.

This year, the theme, “Mental Health in an Unequal World,” is expected to create a bigger picture for everybody in view of people who are already mentally ill.

The day is usually marked annually every 10th day of October to create awareness on how to overcome mental issues, where to find help and assist those who are already affected.

Wambugu noted that the training of more volunteers will boost their numbers and reach many patients with mental issues.

“With the help of the county government and other partners, we are training mental health service providers from the lowest level that is the community. Nyeri County has 2,500 Community Health Volunteers (CHV’s), who are living within our communities so that they can identify and help people with mental issues,” he said.

The stakeholders such as National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Amref Africa, Afya Dumu and Ujamaa created awareness on the need to create a society that is free from depression, stress and mental issues.

Wambugu added that the County Government of Nyeri has set up a modern state of the art rehabilitation center, Ihururu Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Dedan Kimathi ward, Tetu Sub County.

The Chief Officer in the Department of Gender, Youth and Social Services, George Mwangi, who was the chief guest at the event, explained that the county is doing a good job to help rehabilitate youths who have been addicted to drugs and others who have mental problems.

“We are so grateful to have a new rehabilitation center, Ihururu treatment and rehabilitation center that will be able to accommodate 100 patients to help them recover and change their lives,” Mwangi said.

Speaking during the event, a reformed drug addict and now a public health practitioner, Edwin Githinji, narrated how he wasted 22 years consuming drugs and alcohol.

“I wasted 22 years in drug abuse; it has been four years, seven months and four days since I stopped using drugs. I attended Karia rehabilitation center and my life changed for good. I went back to school and now I am a certified public health officer,” an overjoyed Githinji explained.

Githinji also added that he got help from Karia rehabilitation center in Nyeri County adding, “it has been four years, seven months and 4 days since I started a new page in life”.

The department of health service was also able to offer the Covid- 19 vaccine, free blood sugar and blood test screening to the residents.

By Rose Muteti

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