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Teachers raise alarm over rising cases of mental health illness


The Kenya Women Teachers Association (KEWOTA) has raised an alarm over rising cases of mental health illness among Kenyan teachers.

In a press briefing held at the Serena Hotel on Monday 6th May, 2024 KEWOTA CEO Benta Opande said the problem has reached alarming levels, with a negative impact on the quality of education offered in Kenyan schools.

“An estimated 30pc of Kenyan teachers experience symptoms of depression and anxiety,” said Opande. “Since 2022, we have lost over 60 teachers to suicide.”

The association called for the establishment of comprehensive support systems which will enable teachers to cope with the rising mental health challenges occasioned by financial, family and work environment factors.

“When you are a teacher, the society expects you to be a role model so it negates that role when you say you have mental health issues,” noted Opanda. “KEWOTA is committed to creating a supportive environment where teachers will feel empowered to seek help and access the resources they need without appearing before the employer.”

The lobby group has planned a nationwide Mental Health Awareness Walk christened ‘10,000 Steps for My Teacher’ which will be held on 26th May 2024 to raise awareness on the rising cases of mental health among teachers and students.

The walk will take place simultaneously in Nairobi, Nakuru and Migori counties.

The initiative, which has been supported by the Teachers Service Commission and Ministry of Education among other partners, will also raise funds for the construction of a mental health complex in Nakuru county that will offer clinical services to teachers as well as members of the public.

“The county government of Nakuru has offered land for the construction of a facility in the county and we have also signed an MoU with an organisation that will avail experts at this centre” said Opanda.

The teachers also urged the Ministry of Education to embrace ICT and allow educators to conduct online classes as a way of mitigating the closure of schools due to the prevailing bad weather.



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