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Gov’t urged to increase funding for mental illnesses

Mental health experts in Kisii County are asking the county and national governments to increase funding for mental health services in public health facilities to help tackle the increasing number of patients with mental illnesses.

Speaking to KNA at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisii Town during the World Suicide Prevention Day, psychiatrist and Chairperson of Kivulini CBO, Rodgers Omuya said patients who are mentally ill are at a high risk of committing suicide and therefore, should be urgently attended to.

“I am urging the county and national governments to provide the necessary medication and other requirements so that we can help mentally-ill patients,” he said.

Kivulini has been creating awareness on mental health among various stakeholders such as boda boda riders, police officers, healthcare workers and community members.

In a sensitization forum held at the facility on the same day, Dr. Rhoda Auni noted that family conflicts, alcohol and drug abuse, stress, hard economic times and unemployment are some of the factors that have greatly contributed to high suicide cases in the region.

She urged the residents to identify symptoms of mental illness such as unusual habits, poor hygiene, withdrawal from friends and activities and mood disorders among family and community members so that they can seek help.

“Let us learn to resolve conflicts in the community and especially parents, let us teach our children that they cannot be right all the time. Let them know that conflicts will always be there and can be solved,” said Auni.

In the last two months, Kisii County has recorded fourteen cases of suicide, with thirteen of the cases reported involving men.

By Mercy Osongo

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