Mental illness associated with anxiety, depression and substance abuse has been identified as one of the issues affecting public sector employees in Kenya.
The mental disorder recognized to affect male and female public servants across all age categories is established to affect male employees more compared to women.
Grace Wanjiku, Director of Psychological Counselling Services at the State Department for Public Service ,said there was concern over the growing number of public servants with mental illnesses associated with childhood up bring, family and workplace stress and anxieties.
Addressing newly deployed staff to the State Department for wildlife who were undergoing orientation at the at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) building , Ms Wanjiku said the government recognizes mental disorder and stress among government officers as an health issue and was committed to providing support, counselling and treatment to restore their health and enable them continue being productive in service delivery.
The official said it was important for public servants to be sensitized on the need to minimize stress, anxiety drug abuse considered to be the leading causes of mental illness among public officials.
The official urged civil servants to plan and prepare for their retirement by investing their love, emotions and resources in their families. She said family support, care and love was essential to happy and fulfilling retirement after separation with the employer.
The public officials, she noted should join community and faith groups to allow them opportunity to get spiritual and social support and enable the officers provide service to the community and make the active in life.
The official called on public servants to invest loans obtained from the Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCO) wisely to enable them enjoy their benefits in retirement. She cautioned against borrowing too many loans that stretches the family income and eventually become burdensome and a source of stress and anxiety that could lead to mental illness.
She similarly cited gambling addiction and drug abuse as some of the issues that plague some civil servants causing individual and family financial stress. Ms Wanjiku advised the public officials to avoid the vices and focus on building healthy relationships with their families and workmate to enable them live healthy and fulfilling lives.
By Cheruiyot Korir