As published on citizentv.co.ke on June 28th 2020
The number of teachers seeking mental health support has risen steadily during the period the country has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic. In the month of April alone, 400 teachers sought the services across different health facilities in the country.
This is according to the latest report by health service provider Minet Kenya Insurance which was contracted by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). The report now lists Kenyan educators as a group struggling to handle depression; a mental health concern that increased sharply in the last three months.
Between April and May, 400 TSC employed teachers either called or visited various health facilities countrywide seeking psychological support due to depression. The number was highest in Bungoma County where in the one month alone, 28 teachers complained of stress. In Nairobi 24 teachers said they were depressed while 23 and 20 similar cases were recorded in Bomet and Machakos respectively. Counties of Uasin Gishu,West Pokot, Mandera and Marsabit recorded only one case each.
Majority of the patients were male with 54% while 29% were female; 17% were under the unknown category. The report further shows that the main nature of the mental health concern was stress and anxiety. The number of both the inpatient and outpatient claims tripled during the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the last quarter of 2019.
Teachers in large numbers also called to seek overseas treatment with cancer and heart disease leading among their health concerns besides depression. The riddle now remains why TSC teachers are facing depression: Could the situation among teachers in private schools and those employed by Board of Management be worse due to delayed salaries or no salaries at all?