The Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms among Caregivers of Children with Mental Disorders drawn at Kenyatta National Hospital.
Introduction: Care giving to children suffering from mental disorders places emotional demands on the caregivers. This may lead to the development of depressive symptoms in the caregivers. This depression in the caregivers may affect the quality of care that they give to children with mental disorders as living with such children is very stressful. The prevalence of depressive symptoms among care givers of children with mental disorders is well document in the rest of the world. In Kenya, studies in this area are limited. Mental disorders among children attending the KNH psychiatric clinics pose a significant concern. As the caregivers strive to provide proper care for these children, it is important to find ways of helping and supporting them. Objective: To determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms among caregivers of children with mental disorders. Method: A cross sectional descriptive study. The participants were caregivers whose children attended the child psychiatry and youth clinics of Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. Data was collected using the socio demographic questionnaire and Beck’s Depression Inventory. Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS. The results were then presented in the form of tables, charts and descriptions. Results: A total of 176 participants were analyzed. The mean age was 45.5 years, (76.1 %) were female. Most of the participants were married (64.2%), had secondary level of education (46.6 %), and were employed (59.1%). Clinical depression was at (56.2%).The study revealed that clinical depression among caregivers was related to gender (p=0.007). Other factors such as age, income, level of education, number of children in the home and duration of care did not make a difference in the development of depressive symptoms, the study found. Conclusion: Caregivers of children with mental disorders are more likely than the general public to have clinical depression. Professional assistance, public awareness of mental disorders, support by the government, private sector, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are important in addressing the challenges faced by these caregivers.