About mental health in Kenya

One in four people around the world will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Those affected can face isolation, exclusion from work and family life, increased poverty, high healthcare costs and abuses of their human rights. Kenya is one of the five Time to Change Global pilot countries. We're working in partnership to run a pilot campaign to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in Nairobi, Kenya's capital city. 

The 2011 Kenya National Commission of Human Rights report on the Mental Health System in Kenya estimated that up to 25% of outpatients and 40% of inpatients in health facilities in Kenya suffer from some form of mental health condition.

In a country of more than 47 million people, World Health Organisaiton data shows that there are just 92 psychiatrists working in the country.

Download the 2017 report on the provision of mental healthcare services in Kenya to find out more about mental health services in the country.

Focus group research carried out in Nairobi by Global Research Insights on behalf of Time to Change Global showed that mental health is misunderstood among the public, with many people associating mental health with violent tendencies and unpredictability.

Read the full research report from Global Research Insights along with recommendations on how to reduce stigma and build empathy towards people with mental health problems (PDF).

"Mental health is still spoken about really badly in Kenya. We have a Swahili expression, ‘mwenda wazimu’, which means mad man or mad person.  There’s so much misunderstanding.  There is lots of push-back on the fact people should behave themselves - they should not be sick." (Wairimu)

About our local partner in Kenya

Basic Needs Basic Rights Kenya (BNBR) was founded in 2005 to support people with mental disorders, those at risk, and their caregivers to live and work successfully in their communities. BNBR has a long history of developing pro-active approaches to mental wellbeing, as well as delivering reactive mental health services to those in need. Through such programmes, they’ve supported more than 105,000 people with mental illness or epilepsy, their carers and family members.

Through programmes and support services in Nairobi, Central, Eastern, Western and Rift Valley Provinces, BNBR supports target groups including nomadic communities, the socioeconomically disadvantaged, and vulnerable children and young people in both rural and urban areas.

Alongside our partner CBM, we worked with Basic Needs Basic Rights Kenya to co-develop, test, deliver and evaluate a pilot anti-stigma campaign in Nairobi.  At the heart of our partnership is a shared belief that people with experience of mental health problems must lead the change around stigma and discrimination.

Find out more about Basic Needs Basic Rights Kenya on their Facebook page.