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WHO support Kenyans in promoting Mental Health programmes

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged the Kenyan government to support mental health programs by allocating adequate human and financial resources to combat mental disorders.

WHO Representative in Kenya Rudi Eggers told a media briefing in Nairobi that mental health should be included into the national health development agenda.

"More broadly, the government, partners and civil society can also work together to bring depression out of the shadows," Eggers said during the commemoration of World Health Day that is celebrated on April 7 every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the WHO.

The major causes of depression include loss of loved ones or relationships, poverty, unemployment, physical illnesses, alcohol abuse, drug use as well as traumatic situations such as violence and war.

The WHO has supported Kenya to develop and implement the country’s mental health policy.

Eggers said that among mental conditions, depression is the most common in Kenya.

According to the global health organization, all individuals are at risk of depression because it affects people of all ages, from all walks of life.

"It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living," Eggers said.

The country representative noted that at worst, depression can lead to suicide which is now the second leading cause of death among young adults aged 15-29 years.

"If left untreated, depression can be recurrent, long-lasting and debilitating," he added.

He noted that the best way to help the depressed people is to speak to them.

Health experts have noted that early recognition of the symptoms is key to preventing depression from becoming a chronic illness.

Mental illness can be cured through psychosocial support as well as medication.

Government data indicates that only about 40 percent of mental disorders are diagnosed.



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