The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce has proposed the establishment of a happiness department within the Ministry of Health.
In its 156-page report unveiled by President Kenyatta at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, the team proposes the creation of the aforesaid department to address the mental well-being of Kenyans.
“Ministry of Health should have a Department of Happiness, Wellness, and Mental Health dedicated to working on policies and standards in this area,” the report read.
The report says the department should work hand in hand with the Ministry of Culture to ensure that the programs they set up to improve mental wellness are in line with the people’s cultural views.
“They should be promoted to counties that have the health mandate… as part of the work on the Human Development Index, Kenya should produce a disaggregated Happiness Index,” the report proposes.
Last week, President Kenyatta directed the Health Ministry to constitute a taskforce to look into the state of mental health among Kenyans. The taskforce is required to establish the status of mental health in the country and come up with new policies needed to address the growing concerns about mental health among Kenyans.
"The findings of the taskforce which will be discussed in Cabinet within 90 days will assist the government in the allocation of resources to mental health," State House said in a statement.
The President’s directive came amid increased cases of homicide and suicide in the country, which experts have linked to depression, desperation, and other mental health conditions.
In his speech during Madaraka Day celebrations, Kenyatta said: “To any Kenyan out there who is suffering from depression or feelings of hopelessness, I beseech you to reach out and talk, you are not alone.”