Community Programme for Mental Health
Our goal is to improve the quality of life of people affected by mental illness and drug abuse
The community programme for mental health was started to respond to the challenges that people with mental illness and those in addiction face in the community. It was realized that they lived in extremely poor conditions; they did not access medical treatment and psychosocial support which resulted in a state of helplessness and despair. Moreover, the general members of the community and their next had limited information about mental health and support systems available that could ameliorate the suffering the people with mental illness faced. Therefore, the programme aims at building the capacity of stakeholders to effectively respond to mental health concerns in their communities. In addition, the programme provides mental health services to the most vulnerable members of the community. These services include support to access psychiatric services, purchase of psychiatric medication, facilitation to access rehabilitation services from reputable facilities, provision of psychosocial support including counseling and follow ups, and support to pay NHIF premiums to ensure that they have sustainable access to medical treatment. Our interventions are geared towards restoring dignity to people afflicted by mental illness and drug abuse.
Treatment and Rehabilitation
Owing to the high number of people already affected by drug abuse and mental illness who cannot access rehabilitation and treatment services. The project identifies the most vulnerable clients for support to access rehabilitation and medical treatment services. The objective of these support services is to restore the dignity and functionality of those people who cannot independently or with the help of relatives access the retreatment and rehabilitation services. This includes partial payment for psychiatric assessment, inpatient psychiatric treatment and residential drug rehabilitation. Furthermore, the programme implements a community based mental health programme where clients shall be offered outpatient addiction counseling, Intensive Outpatient Rehabilitation, peer support groups etc.
People affected by drug abuse and mental illness struggle with various life challenges that puts pressure on the mental wellbeing. This is not limited only to those who are directly affected but also the significant others and other members of the family. The programme therefore adopted a household approach in offering counseling services including family therapy to ensure psychological wellness of the entire family. These services are offered under the auspices of the community counseling centre where the programme mobilizes counselors from the community who in turn offer free services to clients using St. Martin facilities.
- Reduce stigma – The programme creates awareness to members of the general community in churches, welfare groups and community barazas to sensitize the community about mental health.
- Promote community support to affected individuals and households – We mobilize the community to support vulnerable beneficiaries to access treatment and meet their basic needs.
- Promote preventive measures – We reach out to at risk populations including the youth to sensitize them to adopt protective and preventive measures to reduce the risk of drug abuse and mental illness.
The programme trains the following stakeholders as follows;
- Community volunteers – They are trained on basic mental health information and community mobilization so that they may be able to identify and refer people with mental illness to appropriate support system.
- People affected by mental illness and addiction – As the people directly affected by mental illness and addiction, they are trained on various topics to enable them gain greater insight into their lives, adhere to treatment and take charge of their lives.
- Significant others of the beneficiaries – These are the close relatives of the beneficiaries who are trained to build their capacity to effectively support the recovery of their kin affected by mental illness and addiction.
- Other stakeholders including chiefs, institutions, village elders among others who play a role in addressing mental health concerns in the community.
Overcoming the Odds: Ben Kigoi Macharia's Triumph over Mental Health Challenges
For much of his adult life, Ben Kigoi Macharia has faced mental health challenges, including addiction and other psychiatric conditions. Through the interventions of mental health programme in St. Martin CSA, he successfully quit taking alcohol. Consequently, he was able to resume his responsibilities, provide for his family and stopped subjecting his wife and children to violence as was the case when he was active use of alcohol. Unfortunately, soon thereafter his health took a turn for the worse as he began experiencing seizures that were suspected to be long term effects of his previous drug abuse. Despite seeking treatment from local dispensaries, the condition persisted.
A New Dawn
‘Life has its ups and downs, when you fall you can only strive to stand again. It’s not always to recover on your own but support from others is necessary.’ These are the words from Robert a 36 year old beneficiary of the programme beneficiary who is recovering from alcohol addiction. He started abusing alcohol when he was about 19 years old.