Places to access mental health resources in Kenya
According to the WHO, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and it is estimated that around 300 million people worldwide suffer from it. Depression is often confused with sadness because the symptoms can be quite similar. However, the two are quite different, while the former is a clinically diagnosed mood disorder, the latter is a case of the blues that either goes away after a short time or goes away with a little comfort.
Symptoms of major depression or clinical depression, as it is sometimes called, are a lingering feeling of sadness and loss of interest that you previously enjoyed. Symptoms can also manifest physically by changing your sleep patterns. This can either cause you to sleep too much or a lack of sleep, cause changes in your appetite, and in some cases lead to inexplicable aggression. The feeling of worthlessness can sometimes lead those who suffer from it to suicide. For it to be considered major depression, the sensation must last for more than two weeks and be diagnosed by a psychiatrist.
This illustrated video will help to better understand what depression is.
Kenya’s mental health policy estimates that around 25% of outpatients and around 40% of inpatients suffer from mental health issues. The most common diagnoses of mental illness in general hospital settings are depression, substance abuse, stress, and anxiety disorders. Mental health in Kenya is grossly underfunded, forcing most of those who suffer from it to seek private treatment which is very expensive. In cases where they cannot afford treatment, they continue to suffer from the debilitating effects of mental illness. Kenya is among the countries listed by WHO as one of the countries without a separate health budget for mental health.
Fortunately, there are affordable mental health resources that can be used to either help them better understand what mental health is or to navigate a mental health crisis.
1. Amani counseling center
Amani is located on Mbagathi Rd, the center describes its facility as one that provides psychological support in the areas of depression, anxiety, relationship issues and addictions. They are a faith-based organization and are also located in Nyeri, Kisumu, Mombasa and Ugunja.
2. Friendship Kenya
Make friends Kenya is an NGO specializing in mental health education. They have a blog that defines the different types of mental illnesses and how to identify them. On top of that, they have a hotline that you can call if you are feeling self-harming, and a trained counselor can help you get through the crisis and provide emotional support. The numbers are +254736542304 or +254722178177.
I have heard of this app on Twitter and those who have used it say that it manages to help them slow down and catch their breath when they are feeling stressed or anxious. It can also help you fall asleep faster if you’re having trouble doing so. It is available as a free download from Google Play Store and App Store.
4. PPD Island
PPD Island (postpartum depression) is a site that offers resources such as free PPD tests, information about its signs and stages, and available treatment options. Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs a week to a month after childbirth and can affect both sexes. The causes are unclear, but a history of depression, hormonal changes after birth, and emotional strain on a new baby have been believed to contribute to its onset.
5. Always mom
Always a mom is an NGO that supports parents who have lost children to miscarriages, stillbirths and infant deaths. They offer physical support groups and individual counseling as well as WhatsApp support groups (for people outside of Nairobi). These services are managed by professional advisers. Still A Mum also has a blog with content on healing after loss and how to support a friend who has lost a child.
You can reach them at + 254723220063 / + 254743708336 or by email at [email protected] They are also accessible on social networks.
You can also reach out to someone you trust and who cares about you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.