Some 29,653 public servants have received counselling since the government rolled out the mental health program in the service three years ago.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Mrs. Mary Kimonye, said the program started in response to increased incidents of depression, homicide and suicide among civil servants is now being up scaled to ensure every work unit has a mental health champion to raise awareness on how to behave in case of mental health problems.
The Champions will also provide basic counselling services to colleagues who may be in depression or who may have undergone trauma and help in identifying those in need of referral to more specialized care.
Mrs. Kimonye, who spoke when she officially opened a counselling training at the Kenya School of Government, Embu, noted that the program comes when mental health problems are increasing worldwide.
She also noted that young adults aged 18-25 are most affected with about ten per cent living with a mental condition when compared with 6.7 per cent of the 26 to 49 age group and 3.4 per cent among those aged 50 years and over.
She noted that a World Health Organization report placed Kenya sixth among African countries with the highest number of depression cases; 1.9 million. She said the other problems are anxiety disorders and substance use disorders.
She called on unit managers to provide a conducive work environment and regularly check on their juniors to ensure they are not going through hardships that could cause illness.
She urged the workers to try and live within their means to avoid overloading themselves with unmanageable debts which she said could be contributing to depression.
She said a dignity in the workplace policy is ready and will soon be rolled out to ensure government workers do not face unnecessary hardships in their work.
She urged the department concerned with performance contracting to simplify the appraisal process to make it more user friendly as well as aim to fully automate it.