A BETTER, SAFER SOCIETY REQUIRES MORE COUNSELORS IN PUBLIC FACILITIES
Maladjustment ranges from the less severe problems of behavior to the neuroses and organic psychoses. These are society’s dropouts, and delinquent behaviors that involve psychopathic personality; the murders, rape, drug abuse, suicides, terrorism, and misconducts at schools among others are some of the cases we hear, experience personally and read about in today’s headlines. Stress due to terminal diseases patients and relatives go through and financial difficulties most people are facing currently. Social misfits in schools begins at a certain point, in our homes, places of work, places of worships, either way, it should be dealt with before the generation coming behind us becomes more rotten than it is right now.
An openness to experience is characteristic of those who are coping effectively with life. Studies shows that better adjusted people perceive themselves more accurately. They are more open to the facts of their experiences, as seen by a group of competent and unbiased observers. Persons with self-assurance tends to recognize threatening experiences accurately; they are open to stimuli which are threatening. Poorly adjusted people tend to keep away from such experiences. The concept of self is, of course, learned. People learn who they are from the way they have been treated as they grow up. Some people start early with a legacy of hostility.
Self- confidence comes with patience of observing that problem solving takes a lot of trial and error, that regressions in accomplishment can be expected, that positive reinforcements are needed. Self-confidence is destroyed when the child is overprotected and held back from experiences.
Studies shows that a negative home atmospheres, rather than specific practices, lead to more poorly adjusted people. The work of psychologist is to help such persons learn to be well adjusted humans. And that is why we need them in our institutions to curb the death predicaments we are experiencing in r country today.
We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to;
- Sensitize the community of signs and symptoms of mental health to help the society aware when to take action to avoid misfortunes. Just the way it was done in HIV/AIDS, maternal health, polio etc.
- Grade counselors and give them job groups so that they can be employed in government facilities and help those who can’t afford private institutions.
- Detach counseling from guidance and counselors teachers and make it a department of its own so that the teacher can concentrate in academics and counselor to concentrate on the child’s mental health fully
- Have counsellors attached to psychiatrics so that as a patient is taking his medication, a counselor is carrying out therapies to minimize relapse and reduce pill taking.
- Involve community psychology programs of child guidance; halfway houses; programs for the rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug addicts, help youth adjust with concerns of planning career and young adulthood, help adjustment in middle age crisis and old age crisis.
- Make sure that all work places have a psychologist on the ground to help staff cope with workload, office politics, help approach problems with active attitude so that they can channel anxiety into useful efforts instead of carrying it home and pouring out on their spouses, children.
- Guidance in children’s court to include pro-bono services from lawyers and psychologists in order to help rehabilitate child offenders without necessarily subjecting them to a jail term.
Counsellor:Is aprofessional specialized in the field of counselingpsychology, who assists client(s) to resolve their issues and/or cope with situations.
Counseling should be implemented within the framework of the Constitution, and other relevant legislation as outlined in Kenya and within International Conventions. They include the following:
1) The Constitution of Kenya, 2010: The Constitution is the supreme law of Kenya, and other laws must comply with it. The Constitution stipulates the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual (Republic of Kenya, 2010). These include: the right to life, Liberty, security of person and property, the right to fair trial, freedom of conscience, freedom of movement, freedom of association and assembly, freedom from inhuman treatment, freedom from slavery and freedom from being treated in any discriminatory manner. In addition, there are the consumer rights.
2) Mental Health Act (Cap 248): The Mental Act provides for the care, management and control of persons suffering from mental health illness (Republic of Kenya, 1989). A person suffering from mental disorder is a person diagnosed with psychopathic mental
illness, and other persons suffering from mental impairment due to alcohol or substance abuse. Persons who may be diagnosed with health problems may be referred for Psychological counselling as part of the management of the problem. The counsellor will liaise with relevant authorities for support and referral. In the case of a patient suffering from mental health problems but who may be unwilling to present themselves for treatment as stipulated, the counsellor will liaise with others who may include the police and relatives to ensure the affected person attends and receives treatment under the provision on emergency admission and involuntary treatment.
3) Proposed Counselling Psychological Bill: The proposed Kenya Counselling Psychologists Bill will provide for the training, registration and licensing of Psychological practitioners, to provide for their practice and standards, and to ensure their effective participation in matters relating to guidance, counselling and the offering of therapeutic services in the community and for connected services. Among the proposals include the registration of psychological practitioners including qualifications, a
certificate of registration, counselling supervision, and other matters to enhance professional conduct. In the same way, there is need for a coherent and comprehensive overall framework for guiding counselling within the different and diverse society.
4) Health and Safety: Government policies aim at improving the health status of all persons including women and men, boys and girls, and health services to groups with special needs such as the youth, rape victims, people with disabilities, and particularly with HIV and AIDs persons engaged in high-risk behaviour such as Commercial Sex Workers (CSW), Injecting Drug Users (IDU) and men have sex with men (MSM). Existing laws in health for instance stipulate that abortion is illegal. However, the law provides for exceptional circumstances, where the life of the mother is at risk. Terrorism poses an international threat and it is crucial that counsellors are aware of such laws on safety that seek to protect others from any waywardness and ill-conceived motives. Health awareness for counsellors must include the incorporation of Provider - Initiated HIV Testing and Counselling (PITC) and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) as part of routine health care to all patients and clients. Other essential legal aspects include the Medical Laboratory and Public Health Act.
5) Legal and Justice System: Aspects of the counsellor’s role and function are governed by existing judicial and legislative system including the Penal Code (Republic of Kenya, 2009c). Counsellors must understand the law and be aware of the legal implications and restrictions within the professional conscience. These include: child abuse (CA); drug abuse; marriage and family; mental illness and the severely disturbed persons; and, criminal and civil liability. There are several of these that have counselling and legal implications. These are briefly described below:
Brief Report on Policy.
Objectives of policy.
The objectives of the previous policy remain relevant except the scope and changes in legal and regulations. The following are the objectives of the policy:—
1) Provide guidelines on the operationalization of guidance and counselling services in the Public Service;
2) Set standards for mainstreaming workplace guidance and counselling services in the Public Service;
3) Establish operational guidelines and institutional framework for the implementation of guidance and counselling programmer and activities at the workplace in both levels of Government; and
4) Clarify key roles and responsibilities key of personnel in the implementation of the policy.
LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
This policy sets standards for managing psychological well-being of all public servants for effective management and productivity in Public Service as stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 232 (1) (c) on the need of Public Service being responsive, prompt, effective, impartial and equitable provisions of services. It applies to all public servants in both National and County Governments. These include: Disciplined Services, Public Universities and other Learning Institutions ,Public Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission, Parliamentary Service Commission, Teachers Service Commission, and other Controller of Budget), County Public Service Boards and State Agencies.
-This policy takes cognizance of the International Conventions, Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and Kenyan Statutes that are acceptable to the Public Service.
International Labour Organization Conventions
International Labour Organization (ILO) stipulates that organizations should observe good work ethics and policies that enable employees to work in less stressful environment. Thus, guidance and counseling practice in the Public Service draws some principles from the following Statutes and Conventions i.e.;
Workers with Family Responsibilities Recommendation 1981, R.165
The convention requires that those in employment should have available free of charge vocational guidance, counselling, information and placement services. The personnel offering these services should be suitably trained and able to respond to the special needs of workers with family responsibilities.
Constitution of Kenya, 2010
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Article 43. (1a) provides that every Kenyan has the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Also, the Bill of Rights, Article 27. (1)(4)(5) Advocates that vulnerable persons in the society have the right to equal protection and treatment and are not to be discriminated due to their health status or otherwise while and Article 28 provides that every person have a right to inherent dignity, respect and protection. Therefore, provision of counselling services will be aimed at facilitating the public that they serve as well as providing the much needed conducive psychological environment that enhances protection of life for all. Public servants who have psychological challenges therefore have the right to access the relevant information on how to manage their conditions, right for counselling services, care and support.
Special Population, Gender and Youth
Counsellors shall provide counselling services to public servants with special needs, gender and youth without discrimination. The following shall be observed:—
1. Provision of specialized counselling to special population such as visually and hearing impaired those with multiple impairments, neurological conditions, among others. This requires that counsellors be equipped in sign language, braille, touch therapy and other special skills;
2. Promote beneficial counseling services to their clients irrespective of their gender, age, social or cultural diversity;
3. be responsive to the developmental stage of the client, suitable theories and techniques; and
4. be sensitive to the emerging contextual counselling issues.
The Counsellors and Psychologists Act 2014.
E STABLISHMENT OF VARIOUS BODIES
3. (1) There is established a board to be known as the Counsellors and Psychologists Board.
(2) The Board is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and shall, in its corporate name, be capable of-
(a) Suing and being sued;
(b) Acquiring, holding, charging and disposing of movable and immovable property; (c) borrowing and lending money; and
(d) Doing or performing all such other things or acts as may legally be done or performed by a body corporate for the proper discharge of its functions under this Act.
4. (1) The Board shall consist of-
(a) A chairperson to be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary;
(b) The Principal Secretary in the Ministry for the time being responsible for matters relating to health or his or her nominee;
(c) The principal Secretary in the Ministry for the time being responsible for matters relating to national treasury;
(d) two persons appointed by the Cabinet Secretary to represent training institutions of learning in Kenya which have power to grant a qualification which is recognized under this Act, one representing institutions of higher learning and the other middle ' level institutions.
(e) Four persons, of whom two shall be counsellors and two shall be psychologists, elected by licensed counsellors and psychologists, in the manner prescribed by the Board, and appointed by the Cabinet Secretary; (0 two persons nominated by the Council;
(g) One person appointed by the Cabinet Secretary to represent minorities and marginalized groups;
(h) The Registrar, who shall be the secretary to the Board.
(2) For the first appointments under subsection (1) (e), upon the coming into force of this Act, the persons shall be elected by the organizations appearing to the Cabinet Secretary to be representative of the professions of counselling and psychology.
(3) All appointments under this section shall be by notice in the Gazette.
(4) A person shall not be appointed a member of the Board under subsection (1) (d), (e), (0 and (g) unless such person-
(a) Is a citizen of Kenya;
(b) Is of good character and good standing;
(c) Meets the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution.
(5) A person shall not be appointed as a chairperson of the Board under subsection (1) (a) unless such person-
(A) Has at least five years’ experience in counselling or psychology;
(b) Meets the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution.
(6) In appointing the members of the Board under subsection (1) (d), (e), (0 and (g), the Cabinet Secretary shall take into account the gender, regional and other diversities of the people of Kenya.
The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) will coordinate, monitor and evaluate guidance and counselling services in the Public Service. A Public Service Counselling Secretariat will be established in the Directorate to develop policies, strategies, guidelines and management of effective counselling services. This will be done in consultation and collaboration with other Ministries/Departments/Counties to ensure psychological well-being of the public servants upon entry, stay and exit from the Service.
Provision of counselling in the Public Service will be guided by the following: —
1. Guidance and counselling services will be provided by Government counsellors or may be outsourced when necessary in accordance with the prevailing regulations;
2. MCDAs and will domesticate this policy and mainstream counselling, develop operational guidelines and establish Counselling Units out-source in accordance with the prevailingregulations;
3. Supervisor notices poor performance and or harm to self or others, the public servant will be encouraged to seek counseling services;
4. Counselling services will be restricted to public servants. However, consultation with family, institutions or other relevant source may be sought; and
5. Counselling services in the Public Service will be free. In case of referrals outside the Public Service, regulations on medical treatment will prevail.
Research and Publication Responsibilities
When conducting research counsellors are encouraged to contribute to the knowledge base of the counselling profession. In the event of conducting research in the Public Service, counsellors shall:—
1. Plan, design and share research findings in a manner that is consistent with pertinent ethical principles, Government research undertaken with human research participants;
2. Protect their clients’ identity in instances where their clinical records are used for research;
3. Support efforts of researchers by participating fully and willingly;
4. Take necessary precautions to ensure sustainability of ethical consideration throughout the research; and
5. Minimize bias and respect diversity in implementing research recommendations.
6. Have regular professional development programes
The following shall play a pivotal role in the implementation of this policy:
Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs (MPSYGA)
The MPSYGA, through the Public Service Counselling Secretariat (PSCS), will:—
1. Formulate, implement and continuously review the policy on guidance and counseling in the Public Service;
2. Oversee the domestication of the policy, mainstreaming and implementation of the counseling in the Public Service;
3. Develop strategies and guidelines on guidance and counseling services;
4. Build capacity to implement guidance and counseling services and identify counseling training needs;
5. Co-ordinate, monitor and evaluate Implementation of the guidance and counseling policy.
6. Network with relevant MCDAs and professionals to enhance professional counseling services;
7. Assist in developing sector specific programs in MDAs and Counties;
8. Liaise with relevant counseling Units in developing counseling Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials;
9. Link with the National Disaster Management Committee in response to disasters/crisis;
10. Develop and adopt guidelines for the use of allocated resources for counseling activities;
11. Make proposals for enhancing this policy;
12. Conduct Counseling related surveys, statistical analysis and compile data for use by the Public Service;
13. Collaborate with partners, counseling professionals and other stakeholders for best practices sharing and implementation;
14. Introduce new ways or models of service delivery to deal with the dynamics of counseling services;
15. Organizing and participating in national and international counseling conferences for professional growth and development;
16. Prepare annual counseling budget, work plan and reports.
Ministry of Health
The Counsellors and Psychologists Act is anchored in the Ministry and therefore the Counsellors and Psychologists Board will be responsible for registration and licensure of counsellors in the Public Service.
Cabinet Secretaries shall ensure that counselling targets are included in their performance contract in their respective Ministries and Counties.
Ministries, Counties, Departments and Agencies shall establish
Counselling Units and counsellors in those Units will:—
Provide counseling services to needy public servants, through individual, group and family counseling in order to;
1. Undertake planning and budgeting for guidance and counseling programs;
2. Develop and implement proposals for enhancing guidance and counselling services in the workplace;
3. Domesticating and implementing guidance and counselling
4. Liaise with other counselling organizations and partners to enhance service provision.
5. Provide referral to public servants for specialized services;
6. Promote clients’ psychological well-being;
7. Respond and coordinate disaster/crises by providing psychological first aid
8. Organize sensitization workshops, seminars and conferences for guidance and counselling.
9. Organize and convene regular counseling and Sub-ACU meetings;
10. Organize bi-annual consultative meetings for stake-holders to review progress in the implementation of the policy;
11. Monitor and evaluate the implementation of this policy
12. Prepare annual counseling budget, work plan and reports
- There is a policy but the counselors are not properly identified. Counsellors are recognized at both national and county level. There is need to create awareness to make them know of the existing policy, advocacy and be involved in the budget making process as well.
- They should be involved in public participation and know more about it and how to present their views. Most of the counsellors are not professionals i.e. we have the Pastors, teachers, elders who are giving counselling and have not undergone training. Are they really giving the right counselling as required by law, do they have a license to offer any advice? A lot of questions need to be answered, since counselling is a science there is need for demand training on their part.
- The constitution also does not clearly give detailed information about counseling as a profession. Public service guidance and counseling policy. The policy is out but how is it being implemented.
- Counsellors should not only be in health sectors but in all institutions i.e. work place, churches, all schools etc. Most people who need counseling are found in this institutions.
- Persons with disabilities are not mentioned in the legislations yet they have a right to equal treatment. There is no provision acknowledging them as counsellors in both policy and the Counsellors Act.
The training of Counsellors should be re-designed and delivered in phases (several short
training modules spread over time) covering more content. Such multi-phased
training will increase the retention rate because the Counsellors and those doing the counseling and not in the profession will anticipate further training in the field and develop a clear understanding of the practice and its processes which can help them probably develop a career path.
There is a need for advocacy to ensure that all partners/ministries of government
adopt the counseling unit as the unit for all developmental work to ensure synergy.
There should be improved staffing of the facilities where Counsellors are linked in order to strengthen referrals and linkage systems especially taking into consideration the
spatial distribution and population density. This will increase productivity during their work.
The profession be graded and proper remuneration with terms of service according to qualification.
Counsellors were not recognized in the ADP and budget so there need for more input in this matter.
A major issue in Kenya and in counselling that is typical of developing countries in various faces of life is policy implementation. Effective policy implementation is a highly contentious issue in developing countries where several legislation and policies can be, and are developed but functioning is a major challenge. This is because of various factors, including the social political environment, lack of good will, resources (including finance and personnel), ignorance or lack of strict adherence of general rules and principles, corruption and other factors. Counselling psychology as a profession in turn has to contend with the growing formalized legal environment such as the enactment of a new Constitution in Kenya as well as the upholding of human rights including the rights of children, girls and women, persons with disabilities and other special groups including persons ups including persons who are undergoing correction or rehabilitation. All these must lead to an enhanced move towards policies clearly aligned to national and international laws as well as operationalized strategies.
POLICE RELEASES LATEST CRIME STATISTICS IN KENYA 2018
At least 35 police officers were killed while on duty between January and April, new crime statistics show. Of these, 16 were killed through bullet and grenade wounds, two committed suicide while 13 were killed in accidents.
Crime incidents increased by 1,448 cases in the first quarter of 2018 hitting 21,263 as compared to 19,815 that were registered in 2017.
Police spokesman who released the figures said the country also experienced an increase in several categories of crime including offenses against morality which hit 119 cases, 152 robberies, 214 cases of stealing, 332 cases of dangerous drugs and 162 cases of other penal code offenses.
He said the move to release quarterly crime statistics is aimed at looping in public cooperation in managing the situation. The figures police have so far show there was a decrease in homicide by 40 cases or five percent this year, theft by servant reduced by 49 cases or seven percent and offenses involving police officers by 12 cases or 57 percent. “Progressively, it is noted that crime increased by 15 percent in January coming down by eight percent in February and decreasing to 1.6 percent in March,”
The figures show 609 people died in accidents between January and March this year as compared to 744 who died in 2017 while there was no case of abduction reported in the period this year.
Since January, 60 more cases of abortion were reported as compared to those recorded last year, ten more cases of concealing birth and 41 more of unnatural offenses
The statistics show 41 more cases of theft of motor cycles were recorded in the first three months. Some 13,609 cases of assault were recorded in 2017 as compared to 14,558 of 2016 and 14,529 of 2015 and 791 cases of affray were reported in 2017 as compare to 892 of 2016 and 493 of 2015.
A crime report in the 2018 Economic Survey shows there were 2,774 murder incidents in 2017 as compared to 2,751 in 2016, 2,648 in 2015, 2,649 in 2014 and 2,878 in 2013. There were 2,713 robbery incidents in 2017, 2,697 in 2016 and 2,865 in 2015. Some 6,131 cases of breaking in 2017, 5,621 in 2016 and 5,591 in 2015.
Offences against morality cases stood at 5,492 in 2017, 6,228 in 2016 and 6,164 in 2015. There were 784 cases of rape, 3,487 cases of defilement, 287 cases of incest, 107 sodomy, 26 bestiality, 245 indecent assault, 138 abduction and 68 bigamy cases in 2017. In 2016 there were 923 rape cases, 4,512 defilement, 288 incest, 81 sodomy, 44 bestiality, 155 indecent assault, 53 abductions and 13 bigamy cases.
The report says the total number of crimes reported to the police increased by 1.3 per cent from 76,986 in 2016 to 77,992 in 2017 while there were 72,490 cases in 2015 and 69,376 in 2014.
He said cases of abortion and those of morality have more to do with standards of morality in the society and pose a challenge to police in terms of enforcement.
Police records show that at least 80 people took their own lives in the past one month Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
This was attributed to stress, depression and mental illnesses Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
Some of those who took their own lives were mourning deaths of their spouses Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
At least 80 people have committed suicide in the country in the last four weeks according to police records. Five of the victims were facing serious criminal cases including murder, attempted murder and stealing and all committed suicide while in police custody. Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
A University of Nairobi lecturer (UoN), a UoN student, a Kenyatta University and a NIBS college students also committed suicide during the same period. On August 10, UoN lecturer, 68years old, committed suicide in his residence in Zimmerman. He left behind a suicide note saying he was tired with life and asked family members to take his body to Chiromo mortuary. On August 11, a second year Kenyatta University student, 21 years old, who had gone missing two days earlier was found dangling from a tree. He had a suicide note in his pocket saying he was lonely. The following day, a UoN student, allegedly jumped from the 7th floor of a residential apartment in Kariobangi Light Industries. He died on the spot. Another first year student at the Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS), 18, committed suicide in his father's house in Ruai block 10. Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
A secondary school student and two primary school pupils also ended their lives during the same period. Reports also indicated that at least three of the deceased persons were suffering from mental illnesses. In Rioma, Kisii county, 29-year-old mental patient was on August 31 found hanging on a rope tied from the door frame of his house. Another mental patient, 30, committed suicide near his father's compound on August 30 in Kithimani, Yatta. At least 10 cases were attributed to taking poison while majority of the cases were attributed to hanging. Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
Stress is also said to be a major factor with reports indicating the death of a spouse, separation, and land issues among others contributed to such deaths. Two men, according to the report, committed suicide shortly after the deaths of their spouses. In Kanani village, Athi River, 31, who was organising for the burial of his wife was found having committed suicide in one of the houses. Another man 29 years old, committed suicide on August 4 in Nyatike, Migori County, just few hours after he was involved in an accident where his wife died on the spot. In Kapkatet Kericho county 57, committed suicide on August 20, after being evicted from the Mau Forest. Read more: https://www.tuko.co.ke/285125-67-80-people-committed-suicide-kenya-august-2018-men.html#285125
PREVALENCE OF DEPRESSION AND RISK OF SUICIDE A GROWING CONCERN
May 16, 2018 4:29 pm
In an interview with Capital FM News, psychiatrist and mental health advocate notes that with so many sources of stress, it is difficult to find time to relax and disengage. This is why stress is one of the biggest health problems facing people today.
Just last month, a second-year student at Chuka University committed suicide after he busted his lover with another man.
The incident left many baffled.
Concerns have risen over the increasing cases of university students committing suicide over relationships.
On February 6, a Murang’a University student committed suicide after a dispute with his lover.
These are just but a few study cases of how stress can lead to fatal outcomes if not well managed.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 15-29.
“It’s worth noting that 75 per cent of the 800,000 people who die annually as a result of suicide come from lower and middle income countries,” said Dr Murabula.
Therefore I kindly suggest that this process should be looked into critically by experts and make quick move to ensure that no further delay is experienced. A society without respect is a rotten society, Kindly lets restore values back into our society to save the future generation coming after us, by signing this petition.When we know better we do better.