Effective Governance Approaches in the Management of Mental Health within the Public Sector of Kenya; A Literature Review

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Susan Kiilu https://orcid.org/0009-0008-1116-0639
Hinneh K. Mandela https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7418-0820
Paulah M. Ngei
Kipkogei Chemitei https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5358-6573


Mental health, issues, leadership, governance, Kenya


Highly widespread, mental disorders is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease, presenting a growing challenge to the worldwide healthcare system. The increasing prevalence of mental health disorders in Kenya is a growing concern, affecting at least 25% of the population and rising rapidly. The impact of mental health illness in Kenya is profound as such, the strategies employed in their management must be comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and tailored to the unique needs of the Kenyan population. Kenya public sector plays a pivotal role in healthcare delivery. This study therefore assessed governance approaches in the management of mental health within the public sector of Kenya. This review aims to inform policymakers, practitioners, and researchers on the most effective strategies to promote mental health initiatives within the public sector of Kenya, ultimately contributing to the enhancement of mental health outcomes for the population. Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were employed to extensively search for scientific articles, technical papers, and government documents regarding the prevalence and governance approaches in managing mental health. Kenya is experiencing a rapid increase in depression, suicide, substance use disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dementia, an indication of social challenges and unmet needs at societal level. The most recent guideline for implementing mental health system reforms in Kenya is outlined in the Kenya Mental Health Policy 2015-2030. This policy focuses on enhancing effective leadership and governance to address mental health challenges in the country. Despite advancements made, there are lingering challenges such as a scarcity of mental health professionals, insufficient medication, inadequate facilities, financial constraints, and governance issues. There is a need to strengthen mental health governance with an objective of improving oversight and National and County coordination on mental health. Also, there need for National Government to increase budget allocation to mental health services within the public sector to ensure adequate funds for program implementation.

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