Health  Kenya Project #26695

Mental health care for 5,000+ patients in Kenya

by Bread and Water for Africa UK Vetted since 2016 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
The Lower Kabete clinic is all about smiles
The Lower Kabete clinic is all about smiles

Thanks to the support of our generous donors, we have been able to continue our vital work in mental health, in a country where it is often stigmatised and neglected. Here’s the latest update from Kamili Organisation.

Kamili is now operating three clinics at Lower Kabate, Kihara and Kangemi throughout the year, serving 9,643 patients, with 2880 new patients enrolled this year. Altogether it has given 16,530 patient consultations, including 13,650 with new patients.

The growing number of patients coming to the Kamili clinics demonstrates how mental health is slowly becoming a recognised disability in Kenya, although in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, mental health issues are frequently ignored, and 75% of mental health sufferers do not have easy access to mental health care.

We now organise group therapy sessions, which cater for different client groups:

  • Married couples’ therapy: in which one spouse is affected by mental illness. Twelve couples participated in this, and now run their own support group.
  • Single parents’ group: this ran for eight weeks, attended by 15 patients. It now operates independently.
  • Epileptic teenagers’ workshop – this brought together 18 teenagers, who suffered from epilepsy. One young man, John, who attended, described the results: “Therapy was life-changing. I used to have seizures once a day. I had to quit my job. Since getting medication and counselling from Kamili, I can live a normal life again."

Kamili also offers occupational therapy to improve patients’ skills and self-esteem, and provide vocational training, to help them build a livelihood. Sixty people learnt how to make samosas and Mandazi using ingredients from their gardens, as well as learning how to make detergents and soap. A further 16 women patients learnt the skills of juice-making from seasonal fruits like oranges, mangoes and pineapples. Those who attended these sessions then sold their products in their villages.

We're now getting busy organising the Kamili Family Challenge. This year will be the 10th anniversary and we'll have many special treats for our participants. Check out the link to the video below.

Patient during counselling
Patient during counselling


Mental health patients at the beadwork project
Mental health patients at the beadwork project

Thanks to the support of our generous donors, we have been able to continue our vital work sponsoring mental health training for nurses, in a country where mental health is often stigmatised and neglected. Here’s the latest update from Kamili.


We recently introduced beadwork classes targeting 30 patients and caregivers; the first group of 8 are currently undergoing an intensive 8 lesson programme. The beadwork project is a therapeutic technique to help a patient cope with their thoughts through distraction skills. The patients are exposed to different types of beads, different colours, and different patterns/techniques of creative art.


Patients have also benefited from the sewing programme where they were taught to design and make carry bags. They have made handbags and backpacks which are readily needed by local market as a result of the recent ban of plastic bags in Kenya.


The two nurses who were on the Kamili scholarship scheme graduated during the course of 2017. We will be visiting their respective hospitals, in order to set up mental health service clinics and provision there.


The two Kamili counsellors visited Machakos County referral hospital where one of our nurses runs an outreach clinic 10km away from her work station. This clinic has helped the community at large to change the perception of mental health, with many general nurses now willing to take up psychiatry courses. The families of patients suffering from mental health problems can now accept their sick members as they are and are now involved in their treatment. 


There are plans to open more outreach clinics in order to reach patients who relapse, because services are far from them and they cannot afford to travel to the hospital. We also rolled out the Kamili loaning and savings scheme to this area, which the patients have embraced wholeheartedly.


On a sad note, Mr Mugo - one of our most instrumental nurses based in the most arid part of Kenya where mental patients are highly stigmatised and mental health services are neglected - recently passed away. We will be visiting the area in the hope of sponsoring another nurse to carry on with the good work the late Mugo was doing.

An employee at Kamili
An employee at Kamili
Cooking lesson at the Lower Kabete Clinic
Cooking lesson at the Lower Kabete Clinic

Here at Kamili, we are so grateful for the continuted support of amazing friends like you. The donations have enabled us to continue sponsoring nurses for their mental health training and setting them up in clinics countrywide.

We have so far 3 nurses in training. Our founder Melanie Blake MBE visited them and they are doing really well. We have seen a total of 61 new patients in our 3 clinics in Nairobi in the past 3 months.

There was a-5-month long nurses’ strike (that just ended) which paralyzed services in all upcountry government facilities. Mental health services were not spared as the nurses we work with are government nurses. However, Kamili nurses made sure to provide critical services to existing patients, in particular the ones who need their monthly injections.

Our patients and carers have embraced Occupational Therapy interventions including sewing, juice making and cookery, thereby benefiting from the Savings and loaning scheme. We have had different sessions in which patients learned technical skills in preparing fast foods, sewing and weaving carry bags and making cleaning detergent. A total of 48 patients and their carers attended these sessions. We hope that they will transform the skills so obtained in venturing into Income Generating activities.

Counseling therapy has continued to have a great impact in the patients’ lives. Both individual counselling and group therapy have been embraced. Last month, the counseling department targeted teenagers living with epilepsy from the three clinics in Nairobi for a three-day workshop. The main goal was to offer the teenagers a safe environment to learn and ask sensitive questions about their condition and share experiences on how they have been coping with epilepsy.

At the end of the 3 days, the teenagers understood their conditions and how to cope with it. A total of 21 teenagers & 13 caregivers benefited from the workshop.

Thank you once again for being part of the campaign towards mental health service delivery.

Warm regards to all our sponsors, from all of us at Kamili.

Soap making as part of our occupational therapy
Soap making as part of our occupational therapy
A successful workshop for epileptic teenagers
A successful workshop for epileptic teenagers
Occupational Therapy Intervention
Occupational Therapy Intervention

A life transformed

Grace was a woman who had been in the psychiatric ward at the Mathari hospital in Nairobi for over 2 years. She arrived one day, suffering from critical psychosis and no one knew where she came from. A repatriation team composed of nurses from the Mathari hospital and Edith, the social worker from Kamili, had to do a lot of investigative work to find out where she came from and eventually found her village on the other side of the country. They took her there and found her sister. She had been taking care of her two daughters for 9 and 13 years since the day she had disappeared. The children were in school so they went together to the school to surprise the girls. One of them was just 6 years old when her mom disappeared. When they saw each other, they both started hugging and crying. The team gave recommendations to her sister and referred Grace to the nearest Kamili nurse in the district, so that she can go get her medicine and get counselling if necessary, knowing she'll find a familiar and friendly face there.

Hundreds of more lives impacted by your support

It is amazing what has happened over the past 3 months thanks to your support! We have continued to care for patients with mental health issues. For the past three months,
117 new patients were enrolled and 565 consultations were offered.

The counseling department in collaboration with the team commemorated this year’s UN International day against drugs and illicit trafficking by visiting secondary schools where they taught 170 school going youths about dangers of drugs to both their physical and mental health. The same was replicated in three of our outreach clinics where 2,400 youths were reached.

The social work department involved patients in Occupational Therapy Interventions such as sewing/doll making. The patients attained technical skills to be used in establishing Income Generating Activities hence boosting their self-esteem and making them financially independent.

16 patients and their careers accessed loans from the micro-finance scheme to start small scale businesses. We also identified 4 families which had patients with poor clinic adherence, conducted home visits to identify the reason for the poor compliance and came up with recommendations and ways of improving adherence.

Thank you for your kind donations and continued support.

Melanie Blake receives her MBE from HM The Queen
Melanie Blake receives her MBE from HM The Queen

A life transformed

James is a 30 year-old, who comes from a village along the Nairobi – Nakuru highway, an area adversely affected by illicit drug use. He has struggled with drug addiction for over 10 years.

He was brought to our clinic in Lower Kabete earlier this year by his mother, who raised him and his siblings alone. He was acting erratically and she didn't know what to do anymore. She felt completely hopeless.

James was diagnosed with drug induced psychosis (DIP) and put on medication. Intensive counseling therapy was included in the treatment plan to help the patient understand and change his behavior. James was extremely remorseful and willing to walk the journey of recovery. His mother was psycho-educated on mental illnesses associated with illicit drug use and their management.

Psychotherapy interventions identified his strengths which included very creative crocheting and tailoring skills. We magnified these strengths to boost his self-esteem and self-confidence. He was enrolled in the Kamili saving and loaning scheme, to help him save what he was making in his mum’s small tailoring shop. He started saving kshs 150-200 (£1.2-£1.5) daily. So far James has kshs 6,100 (£47) in savings with a goal of opening his own shop, getting married and settling down.

He has volunteered to join our occupational therapy programme to teach crocheting to other patients and has promised to give a motivational talk during this years’ UN International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking to teenagers in high schools. We are very proud of him.


Many more lives impacted by your support

It is amazing what has happened over the past 3 months thanks to your support! We have continued to care for patients with mental health issues. For the past three months, 61 new patients have been enrolled. We have embraced counselling therapy and in excess of 70 patients have benefited from the service for the past three months. 15 new patients have been enrolled in the sewing programme. The project is aimed at boosting patients’ self-esteem and imparting them with technical skills so that they can run Income generating activities thus becoming financially independent.  10 patients were evaluated and advanced loans from the micro-finance scheme to start small scale businesses. Our partnership with Mathari Mental Hospital saw 3 chronic patients who had overstayed on the wards re-unite with their families and linked to our upcountry nurses for continuity of care. The intervention aims at decongesting the hospital.

We participated in the Mental Health Policy implementation Stakeholders meeting (Strategic Investment and Actions Plan). The aim is to mobilize resources and actualize the mental health policy which we believe will enhance service delivery.

We participated in the World Health Day whose theme was depression. Nurses and psychologists in Nairobi clinics sensitized patients and carers on issues surrounding depression.

We were also honoured to have GA Insurance visit us and present us with a commemorative plaque, to congratulate us on our noble work of taking care of those with mental health issues and expanding to twenty three of the forty seven Kenyan Counties.

Our director, Melanie Blake met Her Majesty the Queen of England for recognition of her services to advance mental health awareness and care in Kenya. She was honoured with an MBE.

Thank you for your kind donations. 

The team receives a plaque from GA Insurance
The team receives a plaque from GA Insurance
James' crochet artwork with the Kamili logo

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Organization Information

Bread and Water for Africa UK

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @bwauk
Project Leader:
Sylvia Costantini
London, Westminster United Kingdom

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