“It is so hard showing love to a drug user. Your patience and trust are tested several times. With severed family ties, you hold on to them hoping God saves them. But medical help is still better than punishment. Instead of taking Kevin to the police, I took him for treatment, my grandson is getting better.” Mary Jumba* says of her grandson Kevin Dan*.
Like Kevin, according to WHO in 2021, 1 out of 4 persons seeking healthcare in Kenya has a mental health condition. However, stigma influences how mental health is addressed. For vulnerable and marginalised persons and key populations – who include people who use drugs, adolescents and youth populations, people living on the street, female sex workers, men who have sex with men, LGBT and related communities – ostracisation by family and community is common as their behavior is seen as out of the guarded social norm. Therefore, these people are often ashamed and reluctant to go seek medical care for fear of being judged or mismanaged.