Teachers Sound Alarm on Increasing Cases of Mental Health Illness

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The Kenya Women Teachers Association (KEWOTA) has sounded the alarm about the increasing cases of mental health illness among Kenyan teachers.

During a press briefing at the Serena Hotel on Monday, May 6th, 2024, KEWOTA CEO Benta Opande stated that the issue has reached alarming levels, adversely affecting the quality of education provided in Kenyan schools.

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

The association has advocated for the establishment of comprehensive support systems to help teachers cope with the increasing mental health challenges stemming from 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 Opande.

“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.”

Additionally, the lobby group has organized a nationwide Mental Health Awareness Walk named ‘10,000 Steps for My Teacher,’ scheduled for May 26, 2024, to raise awareness about the growing mental health issues among teachers and students.

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

This initiative, supported by the Teachers Service Commission and Ministry of Education along with other partners, aims to raise funds for constructing a mental health complex in Nakuru county. This facility will provide clinical services to teachers as well as the general 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 Opande.

The teachers further urged the Ministry of Education to embrace ICT and enable educators to conduct online classes as a means of mitigating school closures caused by the adverse weather conditions.

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