Embracing Sustainability in Mental Health


We have inherited a world that was once cared for, at least to a greater degree, and we owe it to our children and future generations to make it better than we found it. It is such a great responsibility but,  friends, we are capable of accomplishing this noble task by embracing sustainability – caring for people and the planet.   

In striving for sustainability – caring for people and the planet – it is crucial to recognize the integral role mental health plays in this endeavor. 

Mental health sustainability refers to the durability of mental health services, interventions, and support networks. It also speaks to their capacity to last throughout time and continue to serve the needs of people on an individual, community, and societal level. Everything in this life hinges on mental health, making it central to this conversation. 

By investing in mental health sustainability, we not only bolster individual resilience but also fortify communities and societies against the challenges of the modern world. 

What we do:

Strathmore University Medical Centre upholds the belief that “there is no health without mental health,” a principle deeply embedded in the approach to medical care. Our mental health services, which span from affordable counselling and therapy sessions to support groups to prevention and early intervention programs, among many others, serve to promote overall mental well-being. Within our Psychology Department, the Medical Centre houses a team of clinical and counseling psychologists and psychiatrists whose dedication is key to ensuring that the university, its staff, and its students have access to mental health services. 

As part of sustainable mental health services, the psychology department has set up sustainable  systems to ensure that mental health services are accessible to all its students, staff, and community without any discrimination based on socio-economic status or cultural background. These systems include well elaborate courses of action for all mental health crises. These are perpetual measures ranging from planned mental health interventions to standard operating procedures when there are mental health emergencies.

The psychology department has gone a step further to address barriers to sustainable mental health, such as stigma, access, and understanding of psychotherapy and psychiatric services. This is being done through awareness and advocacy on issues of mental wellbeing to reduce stigma, provide affordable  therapy and psychiatric services, and provide easy access to  mental health professionals. Awareness and psychoeducation on the process of therapy has addressed the perceived fear of confidentiality and disclosure, which for the longest time, has been seen as a barrier to consulting for mental health services. 

We believe prevention is better than cure. This is true in sustainable mental healthcare, where promotion and prevention efforts are done alongside treatment and rehabilitation. Sustainable mental health involves initiatives for prevention and promotion of mental wellbeing through community involvement and awareness creation. The department has established various partnerships, and we keep seeking out more partnerships to make this a perpetual reality. By actively engaging with the community and involving people who have lived experiences of mental illnesses in our initiatives, we  empower the public, families and caregivers. This education and empowerment help build resilience and social support networks within the community. This is aimed at addressing social determinants of mental health, such as poverty, inequality and discrimination.

The medical center runs programs geared towards achieving sustainable mental health care. These include capacity building initiatives such as psychological first aid (PFA) training for staff and students, peer counseling among students, mental health advocacy programs like the ‘How You Doing?’ Podcast of the Strathmore University Mental Health Club, the Students’ Support Groups, and the University Medical Centre’s Medical Camps, among others. We also  engage different partners who contribute a lot to sustainable mental health. I invite you, as an individual, group, or department, to join in sustainable mental health care. Start by prioritizing your own mental well-being. Let’s all care for ourselves, other people, and our planet.


Article written by: Oscar Onyango Odhiambo. Counseling psychologist, Strathmore University Medical Centre

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu


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