Journalists in Coast Region undergo training on mental health after covering Shakahola mass graves

Over 30 journalists in the coastal region based in Malindi, Kilifi and Mombasa underwent  Mental Health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) training in relation to the coverage of the Shakahola Mass Graves in Kilifi County.

The journalists drawn from over 13 local and international media houses were sensitized on integration on mental health and psychosocial support services within  the media landscape.

Kenya Red Cross’ MHPSS team facilitated psychological debrief sessions for the journalists who were on the frontline coverage of the Shakahola saga as well as interacting with the data from the said turn of events.

According to Kenya Red Cross Society Disaster Emergency Preparedness Manager Venant Ndigila the training came at the right time when mental health is being promoted in all aspects of life.

We realised that journalists based in the coastal region have covered several newsworthy stories that range from crime to terror attacks in places like Mpeketoni as well as communal clashes especially in Tana River. We as Kenya Red Cross felt necessary to hold this mental awareness session to ensure that their well being is well taken care of,” said Venant.

The three day sensitization forum saw members of the Ministry of Health Kilfii County MHPSS focal person take the journalists through the positive coping strategies and questions and answer sessions.

On their hand the journalists agreed to champion for stories that will create mental health awareness not only at county level but also at national level.

On his part John Kimura, a Nursing Psychologist noted. “The journalists were among the first people to visit the scene and see the gory images. But they had never had any debrief sessions. We look forward to ensuring that we reach out to journalists all over the country.”

The Shakahola Operation has entered the third month with the number of bodies found at 336. As the team of exhumars and forensics from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations continue with the operation Kenya Red Cross continues to be a key player in the multiagency operation taking lead and search and rescue, restoring family links and offering psychosocial support.

The fourth phase of exhumations commences this week with Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure expected to kick off the exercise

MG Team

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