Kenya Holds Conference to Expand Mental Health Services

Kenya may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering the psychology hot spots of the world. But a growing community of mental health care professionals in the country is beginning to reap the rewards of concentrated efforts and inspiring diligence as a greater number of the nation’s inhabitants seek therapy and other forms of treatment. Holding its first meeting in what is to become an annual event, the Kenya Psychiatrists Association will meet this week in Mombasa to explore professional connections and networking opportunities while working toward the development of strategies for both greater awareness of mental health services and the amplification of their availability to the public. Though the association is still relatively young, the national interest in mental health care is hoped to help boost attendance.

Having played host to several traumatic episodes during colonization and the struggles for independence and stability, Kenya is home to a population that, while ever-focused on working toward bright goals on the horizon, is also often challenged by painful memories and experiences. The prevalence of mental health concerns among ex-prisoner populations, for instance, is substantial, yet modern services are largely inaccessible to some groups of people who may need treatment most.

The conference is scheduled to meet with the theme of “Transforming Mental Health Services in Kenya: Challenges and Opportunities.” The professional mental health workers in the country, recognizing both the distinct puzzles to be worked through as well as the great rewards available for those in need as well as the country at large, are likely to discover that their challenges and opportunities in many instances are one and the same.


Atwoli, L. (2009, August 15). Kenya: opportunity to define place of mental health in Kenya. AllAfrica Daily Nation. Retrieved from

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • Arnold


    August 27th, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    With all the conflict and pain in Kenya over the past decades, a program like this seems very beneficial and neccessary to heal those suffering.

  • Teach


    August 27th, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    A new day dawns for Kenya indeed there. I hope it is embraced by all. It’s sad to read that mental health is considered the “poor relation” compared to other fields of medicine. Good luck to them in breaking down those walls.

  • Luther


    August 27th, 2009 at 6:16 PM

    My mother’s family comes from Kenya and when I told them about this they were amazed, happily. They never thought they would see this type of openness in the homeland, but they praise God that it is happening.

  • mary z.

    mary z.

    August 31st, 2009 at 3:37 AM

    So much help is needed for the people of this great continent.I pray and hope Kenya becomes a pioneer in Africa.

  • volunteer


    September 1st, 2009 at 4:37 AM

    Land is being mobilized for health care and that in itself is encouraging. A lot needs to be done but this small step in itself is a giant leap for Kenya.

  • Pamela


    September 2nd, 2009 at 5:52 AM

    transforming mental health services you say… I am surprised to note that there is noteworthy mental health services in the first place.

  • Jared


    March 30th, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Does Kenya have a national mental health policy ?

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