(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
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,”
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.