The society has been challenged to accept and support people with mental health problems.
Mombasa Women Empowerment Network chairlady Amina Abdalla says people with mental health issues need help and compassion not to be stigmatised.
She was speaking in a rehabilitation centre run by her organisation in Shanzu in Mombasa during an event to mark the World Mental Health Day on Saturday.
The World Health Organisation recognizes World Mental Health Day on October 10 every year. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘mental health for all’.
She said since the outbreak of Covid-19 her organisation has been rounding up mentally disturbed people and bringing them to the rehabilitation centre. Those who recover are offered life skills to help them manage financially.
Ms Abdalla said her centre offers courses like tailoring and driving to those who are fully recovered noting that the socio-economic repercussions of untreated mental illnesses are devastating.
She has challenged the counties and national government to make it easy for mentally sick people to access free treatment in hospitals.
Abdalla said those who show tremendous progress after rehabilitation will be given some skills training to fend for themselves and her organization will help them with some startup capital to venture into income generating activities.
She regretted that mental illness has been the most neglected health problem in the country.
Mwaamu Mohamed who works at the rehabilitation centre has called for greater public awareness of mental health issues.
She said people with mental health problems experience discrimination that can make their difficulties and situations worse and make it harder for them to recover.
Ms Mwaamu said most people who experience mental health problems recover fully, or are able to live with and manage them, especially if they get help from society early on.
Another women leader Joyce Awori called on the devolved units and the national government to allocate resources to grassroots organizations dedicated to promoting good mental health.
By Hussein Abdullahi