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Effect of COVID 19 crisis on mental health among young people between 18-35 years in Kenya

MOJ Public Health
Ogweno Stephen,1,2 Oduor Kevin,2,3 Redempta Mutisya,3 Otieno Bonface4

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Introduction: In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Ministry of Health in Kenya putting in place stringent COVID-19 guidelines to curb the spread of this disease including lockdowns and restrictions to public gatherings disrupting the normal communications, activities and engagements that the young people usually had prior to
the pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis also led to an economic downturn further negatively affecting young people. This purpose of this study was to therefore analyze the effect of COVID-19 crisis on mental health among young people between the ages of 18-35 years in Kenya.
Methods: Cross-sectional research was carried out in Nairobi Kenya where youth aged 18 to 35 years responded to an online survey. A total of 272 participants completed the questionnaire which included a biodata section and a section aimed at measuring depression using the standardized self-reporting Depression Analysis Tool- PHQ9 and measure resilience using the standardized The Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) and Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS).
Results: The findings from the study indicated that COVID-19 contributed to the rising mental health challenges in young people during the pandemic period. In terms of depression, the study found out that that up to 65.9% of the respondents reported having severe to mild depression with the male having more reported depression than their female counterparts. The study also showed that about 61.6% of participants had normal resilience but a significant 29.5% had low resilience in coping with the disrupted state caused by the COVID -19 crisis. The research also found out that just over half of the young people (55.3%) were able to cope with the existing challenges from the pandemic.
Conclusions and recommendations: The study demonstrated a strong correlation between the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and its effect on mental health of young people. Therefore, the study recommends the development, strengthening and implementation of a mental health preparedness and response strategy for future pandemics and crisis situations.


COVID-19, mental health, young people, depression, resilience, pandemic