Public Service HR Officers Trained on Mental Wellbeing

Public Service HR Officers Trained on Mental Wellbeing

Public Service HR Officers Trained on Mental Wellbeing

The training of public service human resource management and development officers on essential counselling skills kicked-off yesterday, March 15th, at the Kenya School of Government, Embu campus.

The month-long training programme aims to equip officers with knowledge on the role of counselling in managing human resources in the public service and to generate mental health champions equipped with basic counselling skills. The training will also highlight the signs and symptoms of psychological disorders such as depression, substance abuse disorders as well as address emergent mental health challenges within the work environment.

The training, the second of its kind, comprises of 150 senior HR officers and line managers drawn from various Ministries, Departments, State Corporations and Counties. The cohort will be taken through a counselling curriculum developed by the State Department for Public Service in conjunction with the Kenya School of Government. The first cohort of 41 mental health champions was trained in February 2020.

While opening the training session, the Director of Human Resource Policy at the State Department for Public Service, Mr. Benrodgers Milaih, who was representing the Principal Secretary for Public Service noted that the current mental health trends in the country are of great concern to the Government with depression and substance abuse disorders being the two main contributors to the worrying and frequent cases of suicides, homicides and femicide. This situation is reflected in the public service as indicated by the clinical records in the counselling unit.

He noted that the Covid – 19 pandemic has exacerbated the mental health situation at the work place and this has negatively impacted work productivity. β€œIt is in view of this prevailing situation that we find this capacity building exercise to be timely and appropriate for human resource officers because of your daily interaction with public servants and therefore are at a vantage point to be able to identify and assess the psychological needs of staff,” he remarked.

According to the World Health Organization (2019) Kenya is ranked sixth in Africa in terms of depression cases, having increased by 18% since 2005. Between 76% and 85% of people in low and middle-income countries receive no treatment for their mental disorders. This is attributed to insufficient trained health-care providers, high levels of social stigma and inaccurate assessment of the disorders.

By Andrew Ishepai

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