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PS Correctional Ms. Salome Beacco

CORRECTIONAL DEPARTMENT ENHANCES MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS

By Pili Chimerah

The State Department for Correctional Services has escalated awareness of mental health wellness in its institutions.

The different facilities have several internal counseling units that aid in providing psychological guidance to both the offenders and the staff.

To intensify this further, the department is planning to have a Correctional Service Week expected to take place by the end of the year.

The theme has already been set dubbed “Mental Health Wellness for Effective Service Delivery” where issues circling mental health will be discussed further through different engagements with expected delegates.   

As a way of ensuring the global threat is advocated against, the department had planned on training for leaders including directors from the department, regional commanders, and officers in charge, and just recently there was one for spiritual leaders.

Already, 1028 Kenya prison chaplains drawn from different correctional institutions around the country have been taken through mental health and wellness training.

Several topics were also covered during the training such as Gender Based Violence and Sexual Gender Based Violence, Financial Management and Retirement, Countering Violent Extremism, Addictions, understanding and observing security protocols in prison, the role of psychology in spiritual work, effective communication and teamwork, and Ecumenism and Inter-religious dialogue.

The chaplains were drawn from different dominations including Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA).

The workshop offered psychological skills that will enhance counseling as a rehabilitation program in prisons.

The training was also meant to augment teamwork between the different religious leaders, build their capacity, improve the handling of inmates, and offer spiritual healing to both officers and inmates.

Speaking during the event, the Correctional Principal Secretary Dr. Salome M. Beacco brought out the importance of such training, especially to the spiritual leaders meant to strengthen spiritual leadership within the correctional institutions.

“This is an indication of the level of trust that this Government and by extension the State Department for Correctional Services and its entire leadership has in you and your capability to shoulder greater responsibilities,” the PS said.

She acknowledged the training's positive outcomes for the State Department and the individuals.

“As such, it is of great importance to underscore the great value and expectation that this training workshop is aimed at achieving in both your individual and our collective needs as a department,” she said.

With mental health being a global challenge, it also affects officers and their families and the PS urged the chaplains to take care of their mental wellness to boost them in providing spiritual guidance.

“This doesn’t leave you immune to the same and so personal care and mental wellness for you is the priority,” she said.

Clinical Psychologist Bob Murugu who was the guest speaker during the closing ceremony of the workshop, urged the leaders to first consider self-care which will enable them to effectively deliver the rehabilitation process to their followers.

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