Milestones

The few weeks leading up to the fourth week of October 2017 have been a flurry of emotions. I have been excited and overwhelmed in equal measure, all the while filled with immense gratitude. It was a week I never thought would come to pass back in 2011 when I found out I was pregnant. I recall with clarity the sheer trepidation I felt – the fear, the anxiety, the doubt and the shame, all rolled in one. Here I was, just a few years after campus, and fresh into a new job with a child on the way.

To say I was scared would be an understatement. I felt unprepared for motherhood. What kind of mother would I make? How would I take care of this child alone? Would I be able to raise him? What would he eat? Where would he go to school? How would I meet his needs? I was afraid of what the future held. I started drifting into antenatal depression. My mind often spun wondering how we’d pull through. Losing my job in my third trimester just added to the financial strain and spun me further into mental anguish. Looking back, this was one of the key contributing factors of my postpartum depression (PPD).

Fast forward to January when he was born – he was a healthy bouncing baby boy. What was meant to be the happiest time of my life turned out to be the most heart-wrenching period. I struggled a lot in the first few months of his life. The sleepless nights took a huge toll on me, and for the most part, I was not able to bond with my son. Then that resulted in guilt, regret and shame, topped up with hopelessness.

Would we make it to 5 years – scratch that, let’s talk about one year first. We got to one year, then two, then three… and now we are almost six. It may not seem like much, but having struggled with PPD, this is huuge. And that is why, when J graduated from kindergarten this past week, my heart was filled with immense gratitude. The appreciation of just how far we have come, that we got to 5 and beyond. I don’t think words can capture what it feels like, or even attempt to explain it. This milestone is an amazing step for my son and I. We made it J!

This post is dedicated to my supportive family who have been there through it all and the superb friends the journey has afforded me. It is also for all the mothers struggling with PPD to know that they too can make a full recovery. There’s hope. Here’s to more milestones in the future.

 

PS: This post is a couple of days late because, while I had written it earlier, my son’s hospital admission could not wait. and so, it sat in the drafts folder. After his week-long stay, glad to say he has made a full recovery and we are back at it – by it I mean bouncing off walls with karate-like moves. I am not complaining.

PPS: Blurry images but I am at that point in my life where my memory is still sharp 😀 😀 😀

THE EDINBURGH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION SCALE (EPDS)

Postpartum Depression (PPD), same as Postnatal Depression (PND – which by the way, I have found is used a lot in the UK) is one of the most common mental health disorders in women. Statistics show that between 11 and 20% of women who deliver every year will experience symptoms of PPD. That’s about 2 in every 10 women are going to get PPD. One of the tools that has been developed to identify women who are at risk of perinatal (that is both antenatal and postpartum) depression is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). EPDS is an efficient screening tool that consists of 10 questions listed alongside a set of values. Below are the guidelines for using the EPDS.

  1. The mom-to-be/ mom is asked to tick the answer that describes closely how she has been feeling in the previous 7 days.
  2. All questions must be answered.
  3. Caution should be exercised to ensure that answers are not discussed as this could skew the results. That is, answers should only come from the expectant woman or mother herself.

NOTE: The EPDS is not a diagnostic tool and must be used alongside clinical assessment. For this reason, it should not be used for self-diagnosis. If you go through this set of questions and suspect that you may be suffering, consult a doctor to ensure you get professional help. Secondly, one of the questions (#10) is on suicidal thoughts and must be answered before the report is submitted. If the item is checked, a follow up should be made so as to ascertain the level of risk and make the necessary arrangements for mother and child.

Read More: Depression during pregnancy

As you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, we would like to know how you are feeling. Please check the answer that comes closest to how you have felt IN THE PAST 7 DAYS, not just how you feel today. 

Here is an example, already completed. 

I have felt happy:

 [ ] Yes, all the time 

 [X ] Yes, most of the time 

[ ] No, not very often

[ ] No, not at all

This would mean: “I have felt happy most of the time” during the past week. 

Please complete the other questions in the same way.

 

In the past 7 days:

  1. I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things

[ ] As much as I always could

[ ] Not quite so much now

[ ] Definitely not so much now

[ ] Not at all

 

  1. I have looked forward with enjoyment to things

[ ] As much as I ever did

[ ] Rather less than I used to

[ ] Definitely less than I used to

[ ] Hardly at all

 

*3   .I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, some of the time

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, never

 

  1. I have been anxious or worried for no good reason

[ ] No, not at all

[ ] Hardly ever Yes

[ ] sometimes Yes

[ ] very often

 

*5.  I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason

[ ] Yes, quite a lot

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] No, not much

[ ] No, not at all

 

*6.  Things have been getting on top of me

[ ] Yes, most of the time I haven’t been able to cope at all

[ ] Yes, sometimes I haven’t been coping as well as usual

[ ] No, most of the time I have coped quite well

[ ] No, have been coping as well as ever

 

*7.  I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, not at all

 

 

*8.  I have felt sad or miserable

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, not at all

 

*9   I have been so unhappy that I have been crying

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Only occasionally

[ ] No, never

 

 

*10.The thought of harming myself has occurred to me

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Sometimes

[ ] Hardly ever

[ ] Never

 

SCORING

QUESTIONS 1, 2, & 4 (without an *)

Are scored 0, 1, 2 or 3 with top box scored as 0 and the bottom box scored as 3

QUESTIONS 3, 5¬10 (marked with an *)

Are reverse scored, with the top box scored as a 3 and the bottom box scored as 0

Scores

0-9: Scores in this range may indicate the presence of some symptoms of distress that may be short-lived and are less likely to interfere with day to day ability to function at home or at work. However if these symptoms have persisted more than a week or two further enquiry is warranted.

10-12 : Scores within this range indicate presence of symptoms of distress that may be discomforting. Repeat the EPDS in 2 weeks time and continue monitoring progress regularly

. If the scores increase to above 12 assess further and consider referral as needed.

13 +: Scores above 12 require further assessment and appropriate management as the likelihood of depression is high. Referral to a psychiatrist/psychologist may be necessary.

Item 10: Any woman who scores 1, 2 or 3 on item 10 requires further evaluation before leaving the office to ensure her own safety and that of her baby.

 

Resource Material

Source: Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M., and Sagovsky, R. 1987. Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry 150:782-786.

Screening for antenatal depression with the Edinburgh Depression Scale

 

 

 

5 Celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with Postpartum Depression

Maternal mental health is an important part of public health, and a major challenge across the world. According to WHO, 13% of women who have just delivered will suffer some form of mental disorder. This figure is known to be higher in developing countries where the statistics paint a grim picture of 19.8% of women affected after child birth. In extremely severe cases, many moms die by suicide following unaddressed mental health challenges.

It is important to mention that postpartum depression (PPD), one of the most common perinatal mood disorders, can affect anyone including celebrities. Contrary to popular belief, the risk factors associated with PPD do not exempt the rich and famous. A number of celebrity moms have gone public with their PPD stories. I am an advocate for celebrity moms creating a shift with this because it is a loud message to the ‘ordinary’ mom that motherhood may not always be a glowing bubble.

Read More: My Postpartum Depression Story

Adele

Adele opened up about her struggles with Postpartum Depression in an interview with Vanity Fair. She admits to having bad PPD and been so scared. She made a point to add that it helps one become a better mom to cut themselves some slack and take some time off. In her words,

“My knowledge of postpartum—or post-natal, as we call it in England—is that you don’t want to be with your child; you’re worried you might hurt your child; you’re worried you weren’t doing a good job. But I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life . . . . It can come in many different forms.”

 

Gwyneth Paltrow

American actress and singer,Paltrow has admitted to struggling with PPD following her son’s birth in 2006. In an interview with People, the mom of two confessed to feeling nothing, and having no maternal instincts for her son. She added that, while she harbored no thoughts of harm, she did not experience the blissful doting emotions either.

“I couldn’t connect, and still, when I look at pictures of him at three months old, I don’t remember that time.”

Fortunately for Paltrow, support from her husband helped her on the journey to recovery.

Read More: #postpartumdepression: The conversation on Victoria’s Lounge (NTV)

Kendra Wilkinson

In an interview with OK!, Kendra, a reality TV star and mother of two spoke in detail about experiencing PPD after her son’s birth. Her account shows that PPD does manifest in different forms, and can be a very subtle thing. For many affected moms, there is little energy to do the most basic of daily tasks, and this includes showering and combing hair.

“After giving birth, I never brushed my hair, my teeth, or took a shower. I looked in the mirror one day and was really depressed.”

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen wears many feathers on her hat: model, TV host, best -selling cookbook author and mother. It is the latter that has, in 2017, endeared her to many moms following her admission that she struggled with PPD after giving birth to her daughter Luna. In her candid interview with Glamour, Chrissy wrote,

“I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me—but me—knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression. How can I feel this way when everything is so great?”

She goes on to add some of the symptoms she had:

“Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my ­shoulders—even my wrists—hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me… I also just didn’t think it could happen to me.”

She admits to never leaving the house and spending days on end on the couch, with endless bouts of spontaneous tears before she was finally diagnosed with PPD and postpartum anxiety. Chrissy got professional help, medication and had a support system especially from her man, John Legend.

Chemutai Sage

Locally, Chemutai Sage, a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist went public about her struggles with PPD. In an interview with MumsVillage, the singer mentioned realizing something was amiss when her daughter was about 5 months. During this period, she would experience crazy emotions which she often associated with her child. She kept thinking to herself,

“If I didn’t have the baby…”

In the MumsVillage show, Sage shared that she did realize these were not commonplace emotions, something which got more pronounced with her inability to leave her room for days – there was simply no joy in doing so. Sage did get help, and had a strong support system that helped her in her recovery journey.

Read More: #postpartumdepression: The conversation on MumsVillage

This post is a reminder that, if you are struggling with PPD, you are not alone. By speaking openly about this form of maternal disorder, celebrities amplify the voices of many moms who may be going through the motions in silence. Remember too, that you can get in touch (via the contact page) if you are wondering where to get help or need someone to talk to.

Featured Image

 

 

 

 

 

Today – Taking a minute can change a life

Today, my heart is heavy. Today my heart goes out to everyone struggling with a mental health condition and suicide (thoughts/ ideation/attempts).

Today my heart aches because a number of my friends are struggling now, struggling with their minds telling them they are not worth anything. Struggling to understand why life throws such curve balls, struggling with anxiety.

Today, I feel the pain and the struggles, because I have been there. I know what it is like to feel hopeless and worthless, to be in a dark foggy phase that never seems to lift, and to flirt with the idea of ending it all.

Today, I am reminded I could have been just another statistic in the number of people who die by suicide, but I am here because someone cared to listen, someone cared enough to make a call and to make daily follow-up.

Today I am reminded of how much power there is in a listening ear, how much power there is in just being present (even with no idea how to do it). Today I am reminded that we need to go beyond ‘I am fine’ and really find out how the people in our circles are doing – particularly those who have had a history of mental illnesses.

***

September is World Suicide Prevention Month. September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day, and this month’s theme iss ‘Taking a minute can change a life’. This post comes a tad bit late, but I thought to put it up even as September comes to an end. We may not realize it, but behind the emojis and memes online, many people are struggling with depression and a host of other mental health conditions. In many cases, these conditions if unaddressed, lead to suicide. And that is why it is important that we talk about suicide.

I have had personal struggles with suicide ideation when I suffered postpartum depression, and on several days, I wanted out, I wanted to do away with the pain of not loving my child and hating myself for it. In the midst of all these chaos, my friend, the dreadloc’d one in this post, constantly checked in to find out how I was holding up. It was a mix of chats, texts, and calls, sometimes late into the night when I found solace on a wet pillow with a nursing child on a tired boob. This year’s theme on ‘Taking a minute can change a life’ plays out in my life. All I needed to know at the time was, it mattered that despite what I felt, someone cared to listen, cared to talk to me and cared to check on me.

Statistics show that more than 2 million Kenyans are depressed [Link], that’s 2,000,000. Approximately 5% of the country’s population is struggling with depression. 7000 Kenyans will die by suicide each year [Link]. Isn’t it time we talked about mental health and suicide? Time we let others know there is no shame in struggling? Please reach out (on any of the social media platforms, or use the contact page to get in touch), do not suffer in silence. It is not weakness to ask for help, it is immense strength to realize that one cannot make it alone.

 

NOTE: I posted my struggle with suicide ideation in this post.

Secondly, inspired by Sitawa’s post and with her permission, I reposted ‘Crisis helplines in Kenya and Africa if you are feeling suicidal

 

 

 

 

 

 

#postpartumdepression: The conversation on MumsVillage

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is going to be pretty short; the conversation on #postpartumdepression over at MumsVillage.

Postpartum depression is a condition that affects 1 in 7 mothers, and there is every reason why we should talk about.

The facts haven’t changed; if anything, moms are at risk now more than ever, partly because of the dynamics of the world we live in. This is why, any chance to talk about postpartum depression is welcome. Last month I had the opportunity of filming with MumsVillage on one of their episodes which went Live yesterday on the MumsVillage Facebook page. The show was hosted by the lovely Janet Mbuguah and Isis Nyong’o. Alongside Sage, musician and songwriter, we spoke about the challenges of parenting with PPD, ways to take care of yourself and of course that help is available. (Side Note: It really is amazing when a public figure/ celebrity opens up about their struggles with mental health. It gives other moms a powerful voice to know they can be heard and acknowledged. Thank you Sage. Janet Mbuguah is also doing a great job by talking about the less glamorous side of motherhood. Do check out her social media platforms for this.).

Watch that episode by clicking on this link.

Image credits

 

 

Lifting the lid on postpartum depression

It is always an honor to be featured on someone else’s blog because it means one thing: more people are reading (and learning, hopefully) about Postpartum depression (PPD). I will never tire of talking about this form of depression, in part because i know how much mental health sucks. I am grateful for the different platforms I have been featured on (see this page). Today’s post was one featured by Kalekye Kasina, an award-winning journalist with a passion for health matters, which is how I got to share my story with her.

I met Kalekye at a volunteer meet-up organized by Carol Ng’anga, founder of the HELD organization  – an organization that offers help for those affected by cancer as well as creates awareness on the same. I am always amazed at the resilience and sheer determination to forge forward by Carol and her team. So, anyway, the volunteer meet-up yielded friendships, and this post is one of the fruits of the same. Thank you Kalekye for highlighting postpartum depression and the reason moms need to get help.

Read the featured post by clicking on this link.

Happy reading! And remember, you are not alone in this. Do get in touch using the contact page if you need any clarifications or would like to speak to a professional.

Image credits

How to help someone dealing with grief

There is no manual for handling grief and loss, and there are no step-by-step procedures to cope with the same. On the flip side, dealing with grief is a lot like grappling in the dark. You will stumble and fall on many days. And just when you feel like you are coming through the dense fog into a lighter mist, the reality of loss hits hard. Over the past few days following the burial of our dear guka, it has dawned on me just how much simple acts of kindness go a long way. The magnitude of this realization lies in sharp contrast with the hurt that accompanies an aching heart when those you think will show up do not do so. I kept thinking to myself, how would I have loved for someone to come through for me during this grieving period? Here, I share lessons I have learned grieving the death of our guka. Granted, this is not exhaustive. Feel free to add more insight in the comment box at the end of this post.

  1. Reach out to console the grieving person, be present

When you receive the news that someone you know has lost a loved one, reach out to console them. You can do this on call or text. In the days gone by, I have found myself unable to pick calls because I kept answering the same questions… so the mode of communication may vary depending on the relationship you have. A point of caution however – if you do call, steer clear of filler words. It helps to be precise. I remember how much I appreciated friends who called with “I am sorry for the loss of your guka. May he rest in peace.” And in case anyone is wondering, please avoid asking the grieving person, “what happened?” It is likely they have had to explain this over and over. If they are comfortable, they will let you know without you having to ask.

  1. Continue to check up on the person.

This could be a simple text such as “Thinking about you during this hard season”, or perhaps “sending you warm hugs” or even “You are in my thoughts and prayers”. I remember been smirk in the middle of the grief period and someone asked me to help them with some online work. While there is nothing wrong with asking for help, it came across as rather insensitive because they were aware of what had happened. Let me not talk about those who, right after a ‘May he RIP’ message, will forward those political memes – Plain crass insensitivity IMO.

  1. Visit if you can.

One of the most powerful gestures of kindness we as a family have experienced during this period is the visits by extended family and friends. Seemingly simple, but it spoke volumes – because it meant someone had taken time off their schedule to comfort and mourn with us. I remember how, on the burial date, one of my aunt’s friends found my son and I in a teary mess (this death affected my son as well, in part because he could not understand the concept of death. His questions included: If guka’s heart had stopped beating, why was he still in the ‘box’? Why did we put him in the ground? What will he do under the soil? And so on. Questions I intend to address in a different post, which reminds me, has anyone handled grief in kids? How’d it go? Please leave a comment below)

So, back to my aunt’s friend, she found us, tears streaming down our faces, swollen eyes and all. She sat next to us in contemplative silence, and said nothing. Instead, she gave a warm embrace, said a prayer and requested food be brought for us. She probably doesn’t recall that, but we appreciated that simple act. Just being present meant the world to a mourning mother, her child and her cousins.

In the same breath, please avoid cliché phrases such as, ‘He is in a better place’ (what do you mean a better place? At the time, the best place he could be would be in our lives, the people he loved). ‘ I understand’ (No honey, you do not). ‘Be strong’ (I am trying to be strong, I am fighting, but right now I am failing in spectacular fashion – and it is okay). ‘Do not cry’ (This was the worst in all honesty. ‘scuse me, but how exactly do you want me to express and process my grief? Some people do not cry, and that is okay. But crying is one of the ways I am dealing with this, please let me be). ‘God knows best’ (Yes, He does. It just doesn’t make sense to me now) ‘ He had ‘finished’ his work here on earth’ (please just hush it)

  1. Help out whenever you can.

After the death of a loved one, families are often thrown into disarray and routines are disrupted, as expected. That’s exactly where one could come in to help. There are meals to be prepared, food to be served, dishes to be cleaned, homework to be checked, kids to be taken care of among other things. It may not seem like much, but someone who is grieving may not have enough strength to pull through daily chores. You may make financial contributions too if you would like. Note, while you may have good intentions in letting a grieving person know they can call if they need anything, this is usually difficult. For someone who is dealing with grief, identifying a need, picking who may be the best fit for that need and finally calling them feels too taxing. It helps if you say, “I will be there at 1pm to help with preparations for lunch,” or “I offer to pick the kids from school at 4pm”.

  1. Visit even after the burial

Most people visit the grieving family prior to the burial, but I am slowly realizing the importance of doing so after the burial. We laid our guka to rest this past Wednesday, and will be traveling to visit our grandmother every so often. People go home after a funeral, but the grieving family returns home to the stark absence of a loved one.

Lastly, it helps to keep the grieving family in prayer. When everything is said and done, grief never quite stops. It is something you carry with you forever in different ways.

 

What I am learning about grief

We laid guka to rest on the 30th of August following an intense week – moments of great joy, and others of overwhelming sadness. A week that saw many people reach out, physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. Our family is forever indebted to the amazing love we have received. The past few days or so have also been a learning lesson in grief and how to cope. Here’s what I am learning.

  1. Grief is not linear

I posted this on Instagram and as I pondered on this, I realized how often I overlooked this.

Grief is not a straight line, from point A to B. It is not something that you can deal with in a specified time period, or one to which you can attach a specific time frame. Some days you cope well, some days you are struggling to get through… Sometimes it feels like getting sucked up by rolling waves.

  1. Grief is personal

Coping with grief is a personal matter, that belongs to the griever. However you opt to cope is an individual choice. Over the years I have learnt my coping mechanisms, both good and bad, something which was highlighted during my sessions, and which I have blogged about here. Good coping mechanisms I am consistently reminding myself of include journaling, meditation, nature walks and adult coloring books.

In years gone by, I have realized the negative coping mechanism I have to unlearn is emotional eating and indulging in comfort food. In recent days,I have eaten more than my fair share of wheat and wheat products, which in all honesty I will deal with after this. Point is, however you’d love to deal with grief, do it your way. Be it painting. Coloring. Dancing. Watching ocean waves.

  1. Deal with your expectations

Grief will show you who your support system is, who is for you and who is present. I had to lower my expectations, because I am learning, quite a few of the people I thought would come through did not. And it is okay. Because the truth is I also have to deal with my expectations. I have to unlearn so much I thought I knew about grief – about how to process it, how to wade through it, how to relate to others.

 

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Grieving

Grief and loss – these are perhaps some of the most difficult emotions to capture in words. The past few days have been hazy at best. I remember vividly, seeing missed calls from my mom, aunt and sister, and the news I had been dreading all month was about to be broken. I could feel my heart get heavier, my stomach suddenly felt like it kept churning itself and my eyes got watery.

Guka rested,” my aunt said after pleasantries that cold Tuesday morning. The seconds that followed were a blurry moment. The tears came down hot and fast. Grandpa was gone, forever. My son was still asleep at the time, so I had a few moments to myself to let the news sink in. He had rested, he was no more.

His was a battle fought bravely, since 2003 when he suffered a stroke that left his speech slurred and somewhat incoherent to the casual observer. But he held on, for years. The effects of his stroke, coupled with diabetes complications meant his health status fluctuated over the years. He had to have one leg amputated, but this did not keep him from truly living. He would go for long walks (a kilometre plus) on his crutches, get back to play with his grandchildren – it encouraged and challenged as in equal measure.

Cucu was, and still remains a pillar of strength. She stood by him at his lowest points. She prayed for him. She cleaned after him. She spent sleepless nights taking care of him when his body got weary of holding on. She fed him. She was there all through, and she kept hope alive.

His last month was fraught with pain as his body fought on. He had to undergo a surgical procedure as a result of the complications. I remember my last hospital visit a day before he was discharged. He was frail, his eyes were sunken, and his hands pale. I looked at him and my mind could not reconcile the fact that this was the very man who regaled my sister and I with stories of his trips to Mombasa, his golfing days at Sigona Golf Club, the birth of his children. We knew trips to grandpa’s place would be filled with treats. Here he lay on a hospital bed, curled up in pain… He was a far cry from his former energetic self.

And so, when that phone call came, I knew the curtains had come down on guka. Rest well Guka, Rest. We loved you. And so begins a new norm, without you guka.

 

 

Suicide Crisis Helplines in Kenya (and parts of Africa)

Good afternoon everyone,

It feels good to be back, on here and online. I took a break last week even as the election season culminated in the voting process and tension in parts of the country. Over the years, I have learnt that staying plugged in during such times, or when there is a crisis, say a terror attack, always tips me over with anxiety. I start to feel helpless and worn out, partly because in many cases it may not be possible to help directly. If I don’t address it, I start to feel myself teetering on the edge of a depressive breakdown, and it is not pretty. So I guard my heart and my mental well-being, to ensure I can function, and take care of my son.

In recent times, I have had conversations with moms struggling with postpartum depression in different stages (Read more of that in this post), and it is always encouraging to see many moms share their stories. With the mention of suicide ideation and attempt (this mom did get help and made a recovery), I thought to put up  list of suicide crisis helplines in Kenya. A little while later, I got an email notification for a new post by Sitawa on the same. I asked her for permission to share the same on this blog, so credits go to MyMindMyFunk. Here is the link to the original post:

KENYA
  1. Befrienders Kenya +254736542304 +254722178177 (regular call charges apply) Formerly Samaritans offer free listening services to people who are in crisis and/or suicidal. https://www.befrienderskenya.org
  2. Niskize -‎ ‎0900620800 (Ksh 7 per minute) is a 24 hour counselling call centre that deals with relationship/marriage issues, trauma, grief, anxiety, depression. http://www.niskize.co.ke (currently down but check their Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Niskize/)
  3. One2One by LCVT – 0800720121 (toll free) works on HIV related issues among young people including the psychological effects of those issues. ‎http://www.lvcthealth.org/one-2-one
  4. 1195 by HAK (toll free) works on Gender Based Violence and related issues, borrowing from my personal journey these issues can lead to psychological trauma if felt unchecked. http://hakgbv1195.org/
  5. Have to throw in 116 (toll free) for child abuse
ACROSS AFRICA (in Alphabetical Order)
Botswana
  • Lifeline Botswana – 3911270 is a national lifeline 24 hour service.https://m.facebook.com/Lifeline-Organisation-Botswana-798239733539364/
Ghana
  • Lifeline Ghana – +233244846701 or +2332 444 71279 (regular call charges apply) is a 24/7 suicide prevention counselling telephone line
  • Mental Health Authority Ghana – 050 991 4046 and 020 681 4666 dedicated lines for persons in need of psychological help or contemplating suicide.
Nigeria

  • MANI Distress Lifelines – 08060101157, 08136770508, 08093565520

South Africa

  • Lifeline South Africa – 0861 322 322 (toll-free) works 24/7 dealing with trauma, suicide and other psychological issues. http://lifelinesa.co.za
  • Crisis Team – +27 83 256 5993 is a 24 hour support service for those with suicidal thoughts and feelings, the bereavement of the loss of a loved one to suicide and other traumas. http://www.crisisteam.co.za/
Uganda
  • Befrienders Uganda – 0800200450 runs a crisis intervention center at Mulago national referral hospital. http://befriendersuganda.org/
Zimbabwe
  • Samaritans Bulawayo – +263965000 offers face to face counselling (walk ins and appointments) www.samariansbyo.co.zw

Feel free to share this post. Stick it up somewhere visible and most importantly, USE the information if need  be. Remember, there is NO SHAME in asking for help.