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
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.