We officially launched our FREE mental health Helpline; 22214

7:10:00 PM

With Nairobi County Women's Rep;Rachel Shebesh at Mathari North Health Centre
where she officiated the launch of my FREE mental health helpline

Update - I ran this service for one year and provided over 11,000 Kenyans with information, linkages to support groups, psychologists and psychiatrists. I no longer run it but still provide those linkages through the private me page on this blog. If you are looking for crisis lines in Kenya and Across Africa, get them here
Good evening beautiful people,
I totally love days like today when I get online to update you on amazing things happening in Sitawa-Ville (here is the last update in case you missed it).

As you may (or may not know), September is International Suicide Prevention month, a month set out to promote worldwide action to prevent suicide. As part of the global goal to reduce and prevent suicidal cases,  I launched a FREE SMS service 22214 that offers information and support for mental health and epilepsy and related ailments at an event at  Mathari North Health Centre, yesterday. The launch was officiated by one of my good peoples; Nairobi County Women's Rep Hon Rachel Shebesh.


The line
The SMS line targeting those who don't have access to internet or live in areas with limited access but it open to all Kenyans has the following main features; 

1. Ask a counsellor service where one can ask any question related to epilepsy and mental health and qualified counsellors manning the line will get back through text or call depending on the question. To access this service,  one simply texts their question to 22214. All this will be at no cost to those looking for help.

2. Info tit bits - Weekly tit bits on different topics ranging from epilepsy,  mental health,  drugs and substance abuse,  HIV/AIDS to finance management can be sent once one subscribes by simply texting mhke (short for mentally healthy kenya) to 22214 and follow prompt on info.
3. Find a service provider where a list of government clinics across the country that offer epilepsy and mental health services and list of private practice psychologists given instead for Nairobi alongside support groups for mental health, epilepsy and suicide prevention can be found. All lists have contact numbers and one can access the contacts by simply texting 66 to 22214 for a list of private practice psychologists in Nairobi, 77 for list of clinics across the country offering mental health and epilepsy services and 88 for various support groups.

Suicide Prevention Month
World Health Organization estimates that every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide. In Kenya, due to the stigma associated with having a mental health condition or epilepsy,  many people result to committing suicide as they feel no one understands them and what they are going through with some afraid to visit a health facility.  This service aims to bridge the gap for Kenyans who lack people to talk to and hopes to be part of the saving grace for those who feel alone and contemplete suicide.

Developing the service
Y'all remember hugsitawa from late last year, right? Where I embarked on a journey to collect hugs in exchange for my story as a rape survivor living with a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar, a mental health condition. After months of blogging,  travelling, speaking about the highs and lows of living with a dual diagnosis and crowd funding,  I set up the line in beta (trial) version at the beginning of the month.

I draw the need for the line from my personal battle with depression after my rape ordeal and the stigma faced as someone living with epilepsy and the need to have someone to talk to and/or a resource place for information.  I know there is still alot to be done to reduce those statistics and preventing suicide altogether but believes making services like the SMS line available and letting people know of other services that exist in their locality is a step in the right direction.

I am currently looking for spaces to activate the line and will be hitting the room soon to get those conversations going.

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2 comments

  1. Hallo, I just wanted to let you know how amazing your work is. Reading your blog has made me feel hopeful that maybe talking about mental health will one day become the new normal

    ReplyDelete