The 2020 May mental health awareness campaign in Kenya was led by the Kenya Psychiatric Association (KPA) in partnership with CitiesRISE. The main objective of this campaign was to educate Kenyans on Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond. The campaign met its objectives and this was indicated by coverage of the campaign messages on leading television and radio stations in Kenya. The campaign hashtag #MentalHealth254 gained popularity and became a top trending topic on twitter every week on Thursdays for the whole month of May. The social media campaign connected young people socially and promoted a narrative of resilience and hope at a time when Kenya was instituting social distancing measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
The Kenya Psychiatric Association (KPA) and the CitiesRISE have a shared objective in promoting mental health. While CitiesRISE focuses on promoting mental health of young people in urban areas of five cities across the world, KPA focuses on creating mental health awareness in Kenya as one of its objectives. In this regard, the objectives of these two organizations intersect in the city of Nairobi and under both curves is young people. Consequently, the two organizations have a working Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a Work Plan. The work plan lists the May Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign as one of the joint activities among others to be carried out by the two organizations.
The May Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign is an initiative of KPA started in 2019. The 2020 campaign is the first collaborative campaign by KPA and CitiesRISE. While the theme of the May Mental Health Awareness Month Campaign may vary from year to year, the main objective of the campaign is to increase the mental health literacy of Kenyans. The benefits of better mental health literacy include:
- understanding how to maintain good mental health
- understanding causes of mental disorders and their treatment
- decreasing stigma against mental illness
- enhancing help seeking efficacy