WHO statistics indicate that an estimated 700,000 people die by suicide annually. As a lower-middle-income country, Kenya shares in the 77% global burden of suicides that happen in countries with such economies. According to the World Bank, Kenya's suicide mortality rate stands at 6 people per 100,000 persons. Lately, various stakeholders have raised concerns over the increase in suicide cases in the country.
Amid this suicide crisis, one wonders, what can be done to reduce the suicide mortality rate? One of the steps that can be taken is prevention, an approach highly recommended by WHO. In Kenya, various organizations, towards preventing suicide, offer support to people at risk of the same. Below is a list of such organizations and their hotlines.
Befrienders Kenya is a charitable initiative that offers suicide prevention support. The organization achieves this by offering free psychological support to people in distress and thus at risk of dying by suicide.
Beyond offering psychological support, the organization, which is run by volunteers and funded by well-wishers, also creates awareness on suicide among members of society. Through awareness creation, Befrienders Kenya seeks to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide.
Through its work, the organization envisions a society in which fewer people die by suicide. It strives to achieve this vision by providing confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair and through focused programs create awareness aimed at suicide prevention.
Befriender’s Kenya helpline number is +254 722 178 177.
Niskize, Swahili for “listen to me” is an entity that runs a 24-hour call center offering counseling services to people in distress. Besides this, the organization also offers face-to-face individual and group sessions to persons living with long-term health challenges and those dealing with trauma, as well as teenagers and persons struggling with substance abuse.
Further, the Nairobi-based organization runs several support groups for various groups of people among them those dealing with depression and anxiety, persons living with bipolar disorder, those struggling with loss and grief, among others.
Niskize’s suicide prevention helpline is 0900 620 800. The organization can also be reached on +254 718 227 440.
Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation (EMKF)
EMKF is a nonprofit organization started in 2015 by Dr. Benjamin Wachira and Dr. Jeremiah Gitau to guide and inform the development and sustainable emergency medical care system appropriate for the Kenyan healthcare system.
The organization runs a free nationwide Suicide Prevention and Crisis helpline that is operated by professionals with experience in suicide prevention.
EMKF’s suicide prevention hotline is 0800 723 253.
Founded in 1990 by Dr. Gladys Mwiti and Dr. Gershon Mwiti, Oasis Africa identifies as a “professional indigenous psychological counseling and training organization.” The Nairobi-based entity aims at among other things, to bring healing to many hurting communities in the world.
Among the services offered by the 30-year-old organization, include mental health awareness, stress management, professional counseling and psychotherapy, personal development, among others.
Oasis Africa can be reached on 254 725 366 614 and +254 (0) 110 862 23.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya (CBT-Kenya)
Based in Nairobi, CBT Kenya is a psychotherapy center that offers counseling and therapy support to people dealing with mental health that manifest as anxiety, depression, insomnia, anger, and substance abuse. The center’s goal is to empower people to be in control of their lives by achieving mental health.
As part of its suicide prevention awareness activities, CBT-Kenya shares critical information and spreads hope to people affected by suicide. With this initiative, the center hopes that all members of the society have what it takes to discuss suicide and seek help when necessary.
One can reach out to CBT-Kenya on +254 739 935 333 or +254 756 454 585.
Mental Wellness Kenya
Mental Wellness Kenya is an initiative founded by psychologist Achieng Jahera to offer support and counseling to persons dealing with mental health issues.
The organization can be contacted on +254 717 234 621.