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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 1/2017

Who seeks child and adolescent mental health care in Kenya? A descriptive clinic profile at a tertiary referral facility

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health > Ausgabe 1/2017
Judy Wanjiru Kamau, Olayinka O. Omigbodun, Tolulope Bella-Awusah, Babatunde Adedokun



The presence of psychiatric morbidity in the child and adolescent age group is demonstrable in various studies conducted in various settings in Kenya. This study set out to determine the psychiatric morbidity and socio-demographic profile of patients who eventually present for care at a tertiary specialist child and adolescent mental health clinic in Kenya. Knowledge of the patterns of presentation of disorders is crucial for planning of service scale up as well as serving as a useful training guide.


This was a cross sectional descriptive study of 166 patients and their guardians presenting to the child and adolescent mental health clinics at a tertiary referral hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Data was collected using a researcher designed socio-demographic questionnaire and the Kiddie-schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia-present and lifetime (KSADS-PL 2009 Working Draft) and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists.


There were more males (56%) than females in this study and the participant’s mean age was 13.6 years. Substance abuse disorders were the most prevalent presentation (30.1%) followed by depressive disorders (13.9%), with most referrals to the clinic coming from medical practitioners and teachers. The mean time to accessing care at the clinic after the onset of symptoms was 16.6 months, with the longest time taken to specialist care being 183 months.


The findings from this study will go a long way to support the establishment of programs that improve timely child and adolescent mental health service delivery. The involvement of various stakeholders such as the education sector and the community is key in the development of these programs.
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