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Our mental health is badly affected - Healthcare workers cry for help in Vihiga

Healthcare workers in Vihiga County have expressed worry over an increased rate of mental illness occurrences among healthcare workers.

Linet Indiazi, a psychologist in Vihiga speaking during the launch of White Coat in Gambogi

Speaking in Gambogi, Hamisi constituency, the healthcare workers, led by Emmanuel Wasike, shared their horrific experiences and how they are still expected to offer impeccable services to patients in spite of their own mental wellness needs.

“We take good care of our patients but no one is concerned about our wellbeing as healthcare workers. Our mental health is badly affected yet my productivity depends on my mental wellbeing,” noted Emmanuel, a clinician and Chairperson of the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, Vihiga County Chapter.

The latest statistics show that the number of patients with mental health illnesses in Vihiga County for the last five years stands at about 10,000, with Vihiga constituency accounting for 8,839 of the patients.

The healthcare workforce now wants the issue addressed to help them to better attend to their patients.

Speaking during the launch of “White Coat”, a pilot program by Mindful Kenya that seeks to enhance the mental health of healthcare workers, Linet Indiazi, a psychologist from Vihiga busted the myth that healthcare workers have perfect lives.

“We assume that doctors know everything and that they have everything they need. But they are humans and they go through issues. I work with people with chronic illnesses like cancer. You see a patient is in the final stage and is likely to die and it affects you,” narrated Ms Linet.

Despite all the challenges, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The Ministry of Health, the County government of Vihiga and Mindful Kenya are working together to improve the mental well-being of the healthcare workers in Vihiga through the White Coat program with the hope of expanding to other counties in the near future.

“We are starting with the healthcare workers so that they can in return serve the community,” noted Mercy Mwende, Mindful Kenya’s project lead.

Mindful Kenya also offers anonymous therapy sessions that can be accessed by short code *702*30#

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