Nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga has urged the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, to roll out mental health and depression training for teachers, so as to equip them with the capacity to handle cases of mental health and depression among pupils.

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Speaking in Kisumu on Wednesday, Senator Kasanga said currently, teachers lack the capacity to assist learners as far as mental health and depression issues are concerned.

“Use and abuse of drugs among the youth is among the causes of mental illness starting from that young age. Can the teachers just get trained? I feel that is a hanging fruit that does not cost much,” she said.

She spoke at the Global Programs for Research and Training organisation offices in Kisumu, during a meeting for members of the implementation and resource team for Smart-Dapper (depression and primary partnership for effective research) project.

She is the sponsor of the mental health amendment Bill 2018, that is currently in the National Assembly. 

According to Grace Rota who works for the Smart-Dapper project, it is an affiliation of the University of Nairobi and University of California San Francisco, currently undertaking a five-year-study in Kisumu County.

The study which began last year is introducing two mental health care treatments at the Kisumu County Hospital (KCH), namely interpersonal psychotherapy (talk therapy for 12 weeks) and use of a drug used for treating depression.

“What we want to see is which one is the most effective between the talk therapy and the drug,” said Grace.