New efforts to curb mental health among police officers

Kenyan Police officers at a past function. [Courtesy]

The National Police Service has put in place new measures to deal with cases of mental health among police officers.

NPS has now partnered with a team of doctors among them Dr Frank Njenga to train senior officers on ways and means of dealing with mental health issues among the rank and file in the police service.

Earlier today, during an event held at the Chiromo Group of Hospitals in Nairobi, Dr Njenga met over 60 senior commanders in the Administration Police who were trained on ways of identifying and addressing the challenges faced by their juniors.

The senior commanders were informed of the signs of mental disorders and how to deal with them when they appear in officers.

Dr Njenga, who was appointed the Presidential Advisor on mental health yesterday said police officers were at a higher risk of suffering mental disorders owing to the nature of their work.

"The risks they (Police officers) are exposed to place them at a higher risk of mental illness," Said Dr Njenga. 

Njenga told the police chiefs to make sure that they engage their juniors regularly to make sure they can detect challenges that can lead to mental disorders.

Head of logistics at Administration Police Masoud Mwinyi, Administration Police Service Noor Gabow, Dr Frank Njenga. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Deputy Inspector General In charge of AP Noor Gabow said police bosses must change the way they deal with cases of mental health.

“Mental health issues are not HR issues. They are issues that can be addressed without resorting to disciplinary matters “ Gabow said.

The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) through CEO Joseph Onyago said the police employer will support officers undergoing mental health issues. He said in certain instances , deployment and transfer of officers will be subject to the mental health status of the individual.

 Administration police head of mental health Daniel Muthondeki said the service was also looking into the likelihood of extending their mental health outreach to officers who have left the service.  

Muthondeki said many officers had faced mental issues after leaving office.

"Many officers, whether retired or serving, face mental issues after retirement,"

During the meeting, the police bosses were asked to advise their juniors on how to handle their finances as this was a major cause of stress among officers.

The police chiefs have also been asked to mediate in the event of family disputes between officers and their spouses.

Marital problems have been singled out as one of the causes of mental health issues among officers.