Enhancing the integration of community mental health services in Kenya’s Nakuru County
In many communities in Kenya, stigma and discrimination against the mentally ill or disabled is deeply entrenched. Shortages of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists, and social workers are among the main barriers to providing treatment and care in the country. Additionally, there are inequities in the distribution of these already low numbers of mental health workers, whereby the available professionals are concentrated in Nairobi and teaching hospitals while rural areas are left with very few professionals.
The aim of SIXKNM’s project is to model a community health strategy by increasing access to and availability of mental health support, and by reducing stigma and discrimination in the unserved and low-resource urban areas of Nakuru County.
SIXKNM will focus on training a variety of stakeholders - Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), schoolteachers, mental health family care support group, traditional and religious leaders, and journalists.
Over the duration of the project, trained CHVs will visit 3000 families living with ill patients, detect relapse and refer patients to the next level of the health care system if needed. They will operate around the villages where they reside, ensuring that they are familiar with families caring mental health patients.
SIXKNM will conduct a study to inform policy and program changes in target areas. Utilizing the advocacy experience they’ve gained since they were established in 2012, the organization hopeS to influence the integration of community mental health services into existing primary health care in their region.
SIXKNM Self Help Group was awarded a $26,000 grant for this project, as a part of Madiro's call for proposals in 2021.