Today in Kenya young people face unprecedented challenges - no jobs even with a college education, parental and school pressure, bullying, loneliness, and other economic pressures - such as predatory loan sharks. We are losing our youth to drugs, violence, and more often now death by suicide. Young people are lonely and disconnected. Green String supports cultural, emotional, wellbeing, & peer support circles for young people 10-24 years old that is transforming their lives through connections.
Today the average young Kenyan feels hopeless and angry. They feel they are not respected and are voiceless. In response, many have created broken and disordered identities - as individuals but also collectively. The hopelessness has led many to hurt themselves. Young people are addicted to (pills, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, porn, etc.) Cases of self-harm are on the rise, including cutting, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, and death by suicide. We see early motherhood/fatherhood.
Because the problems that young people face tend to be complex with many factors contributing to their problems, most of the mental health options & interventions do not holistically address underlying problems & can even lead to negative experiences & behaviors. GSN runs healing-centered, culturally designed, peer-support groups that are helping young people reconnect with their peers, families, and communities. Through relational well-being, young people are part of the solution.
Professionalized mental health care is never going to be scalable anywhere in the world. Partially it is a matter of insufficient resources as there are not enough dollars, euros, and shillings in creation for all the professional care that the world appears to need. But in many places, like here in East Africa professional, individual care is often not even culturally desired. By creating new models of community care and relational well-being, young people are creating the solutions they need.