Rates of mental health problems are higher among students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and higher overall in poorer countries; research in Kenyan universities identified high levels of depression and anxiety among students1. Researchers also found depressive symptoms in over 40% of students at the University of Nairobi, including severe cases in 5.6% (5.3% males and 5.1% female)2. Kenyatta University student welfare centre highlight that mental health problems often cause students to leave higher education, meaning that they aren’t able to reach their potential; yet the university mental health support services are poor, and staff and student awareness of mental health problems is low.
The Innovation aims to:
- Access to treatment and psychosocial support via a combination of traditional core mental health services as well as low intensity psychotherapy.
- Providing proactive health promotion and reactive substance misuse services.
- Establishment of safe spaces.
- Establishment of support systems through peer support groups consisting of students and staff members with experience of mental distress.
- Anti-stigma publicity campaigns and use of role models.
- Leverage technology for behaviour change: setting up ‘hackathon’ event and social media advocacy.