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Mental Health Disorders On The Rise Among Civil Servants, Police Are Most Affected

The number of government workers struggling with mental health conditions has tripled in the last one 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 the 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.

The PS was addressing the press in Lake Naivasha Resort after opening a two day workshop for public service counselors drawn from different ministries in the government.

Gathecha said the government is implementing various preventive and promotive measures to promote mental health and wellbeing of public servants.

He said mental health challenges affect productivity within the public service and according to the Kenya Mental Health Investment Case, the country lost Sh62.2B due to mental health conditions.

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.

On her part, Grace Wanjiku, a Director in the department admitted that mental health is a challenge within government ministries and hence the need for urgent action.

According to Wanjiku, of the 22 ministries in the government only seven had counselors despite the rising demand for counseling services.



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