Mental health advocates ask Pastor Dorcas Gachagua to intervene in screening of police officers, health workers

Mental health advocates ask Pastor Dorcas Gachagua to intervene in screening of police officers, health workers

Second Lady Dorcas Gachagua. | FILE

A recent report on the mental health status in the country, which indicated the police service is the most affected, has triggered a reaction from mental health advocates, who are now calling for Second Lady Pastor Dorcas Gachagua's input to fight the setbacks. 

Mindful Kenya, a local venture dedicated to fight mental health struggles, is seeking to carry out mental health screening among police officers and health workers, whom the initiative says are some of the most affected due to the nature of their work. 

In a plea to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua's wife, Mindful Kenya says it is encountering a myriad of challenges in achieving its plan, and now wants the backing of a powerful and influential voice to compel health insurance institutions to support the initiative. 

"Your support not only amplifies the urgency of this initiative but also galvanizes institutions like MAKL (Medical Administrators Kenya Limited) and NHIF to play their part in this transformative journey. By advocating for our cause, we can ensure that our frontline heroes receive the mental health support they so desperately need," Mindful Kenya said in the letter.

Early screening among the frontline workers will help to detect early cases of mental health struggles, improve health, enhance productivity and reduce stigma among the workers.

"Imagine a Kenya where our protectors are mentally resilient, where they serve without the shadow of untreated trauma looming over them," the letter read further.

In the recent mental health status report, the number of government workers struggling with mental health conditions has tripled in the last year with the harsh financial crisis blamed for the rise.

The most affected are uniformed officers with cases of suicide mainly in the police and the prison departments becoming more common. 

According to the Public Service Principal Secretary Amos Gathecha, the rising cases of absenteeism from government officers are on the rise, thus affecting service delivery.

He attributed this to depression and use of alcohol adding that the number of civil servants in need of counseling has risen from 5,000 to 13,000 in the last one year.

Gathecha identified uniformed officers as the most affected with the National Police Service and the Prison department leading in the number of depressed officers.

He said that plans to hire more counselors for all the government ministries are at an advanced stage, and police officers are among those set to benefit.

Gathecha added that in the last financial year, the government provided psycho-education support to over 12,500 civil servants amid an increase in demand for the services.


Mental health Rigathi Gachagua Dorcas Gachagua Police service

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