By Wambui Kabaka
- Mental unwellness sprouts from different areas in our lives from education, finances and employment.
- The event resonated with the global observance of World Mental Health Day.
- It was more than just a space for sharing stories and tears.
In a world where people brew a lot of unspoken emotions, sometimes all they need is a beacon of hope in the darkness and a safe space.
Conversations with Esther, a game-changing media platform by the remarkable Esther Katiba driven by Integrity, Impact and Excellence.
Her goal is to transform individual homes and workplaces by normalizing the conservation of mental wellness through the provision of a safe space and judgment-free environment for these candid conversations to take place.
“For performance to reflect at work, people need to be mentally well,” she shares.
Coping with grief and loss was an event that aimed to provide a safe space where the pain of losing a family member, the blow of unemployment, and the ending of friendships or relationships could be spoken aloud with no judgment.
The event was more than just a space for sharing stories and tears, thanks to the partners’ unwavering support.
Apart from professional psychologists on site (National Police Service Commission, Chiromo Hospital Group), professionals in the fields of insurance (Jubilee), education (EFAC), career strategizing (JAYCVs), and finances (Hisa Trust) came together and offered their services for free.
They are aware that grief and loss often extend beyond the emotions, and seeps into financial issues and overall well-being.
The event resonated with the global observance of World Mental Health Day, taking place on October 10.
NPSC Counseling Unit
The National Police Service Commission is in charge of human resource management of the National Police Service, which comprises the Kenya Police, the Administration Police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
The National Police Service Commission has five committees as delivery units, each headed by a commissioner.
The NPSC Counseling Unit, headed by Dr. Alice Otwala is under the recruitment, appointment, confirmation, and welfare committee that was launched in August 2021.
Its function is to coordinate research and help NPS staff deal with welfare issues such as financial literacy, self-awareness, and psychological First Aid.
The CEO, Mr. Peter Leley, dispatched a team of counselors from the Commission on Saturday, October 7, 2023, to offer psychological counseling and psycho-educational support on loss and grief at Nairobi’s Children’s Park as part of the commission’s corporate social responsibility.
The remarkable and dedicated team of counselors, led by the experienced and incredible Mr. Julius Menza, provided support and guidance, illustrating the essence of healing and mental wellness, reminding us that no one should go through dark moments alone and that help is available to those who dare to reach out.
They offered their counseling services to the general public and engaged them in team building and fun activities.
They engaged children in counseling services, fun games and cycling.
The Chiromo Hospital Group CHG, a level 5 private hospital, is the leading provider of psychiatric services and offers great care and support to individuals facing mental health challenges.
It has five branches: two CHG branches in Westlands, two CHG branches in Lavington, and CHG-Nyali.
Martha Matolo, a clinical psychologist, shares that their mission is to pursue excellence in the delivery of mental health services by adhering to evidence-based practices.
They undertook the #TUFUNGUKE initiative launched by the former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, which aims to provide accessible and informative resources that empower individuals to prioritize their mental health.
The initiative was started as a result of the silence that has persisted for too long, hindering individuals from seeking help and receiving support and the lack of awareness surrounding mental health.
They “break the silence” through conducting wellness talks, medical camps, and administration of assessment check-up tools for burn-out, depression, anxiety, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and other mental conditions.
They reach the community by going to schools, institutions, churches, NGO events and workplaces, ensuring that no community remains untouched.
At the heart of the event, the team played an important role in addressing the emotional and psychological aspects of these challenges.
They provided supportive counseling, education and awareness, assessment and guidance and community-building to help individuals cope with grief and loss while addressing the silence and lack of awareness that often surround these personal experiences.
YMCA Kenya is a worldwide charitable membership organization committed to the improvement of quality of life of all the youth, both in rural and urban areas.
Focusing on everything youth empowerment by providing membership, leadership and spiritual development, vocational training and institutional strengthening.
They played a pivotal role at the event by providing engaging games such as Scrabble, monopoly, jenga, chess and darts.
The games helped create a relaxed atmosphere, encouraging event attendees to relieve stress, connect with others and unwind, which is fundamental as a part of coping with loss and grief.
Education For All Children
Lucy Opany, in-charge of Mentoring and Training Liaison, shared the mission of the organization.
She said that the organization’s mission is to attain equality for global education, which aims to influence change and provide education to employment programs to bright Kenyan children who are disadvantaged and have no access to secondary school education.
They do this by providing scholarships, supporting transitions to higher education by holding transitional workshops, scholarships through partnering with higher institutions, financial stipends, laptops, volunteer support and internship opportunities, and incorporating mentoring and career training by training them on how to write CVs, creating LinkedIn accounts and carrying out mock interviews.
In line with the event’s mission, EFAC is aware that access to quality education is crucial in building resilience and emotional well-being by empowering them with knowledge and tools to navigate life and its challenges, including the profound experience of loss and grief.
They offered a range of educational resources and interactive sessions, enriching the event’s experience.
They created a deeper understanding among the attendees by conducting engaging workshops.
Hisa Africa was founded in 2013 by Alfred Mathu, aka The Financial Doctor, who says that Hisa Africa Insurance is a beacon of empowerment transforming the financial landscape, i.e., life assurance advice, investments, retirement planning, insurance, and financial advisory for both retail and corporate clients on behalf of Absa Life Assurance Kenya Limited and Old Mutual Group.
Financial well-being is an aspect that is often overlooked when it comes to grief and loss.
Individuals struggling with losing a loved one or unemployment face financial challenges that cause emotional and mental distress.
In response, the collaboration played a vital role at the event by offering professional advice on financial planning, money markets, and insurance strategies through personalized consultations.
They gave the attendees practical guidance on safeguarding their financial future as their tagline is “plan ahead”.
They reinforced the idea that addressing grief and loss necessitates attention to both the heart and the wallet.
Founded in 2018 by Jay Walemba, JAY CVs offers professional and quality services and aims at bridging the gap between the employer and the job seekers.
They provide services such as professional writing and designing of Curriculum Vitae that make you employable, HR consultancy and training, career coaching, LinkedIn revamping and writing motivational and cover letters.
Through the partnership, the company offered career coaching, resume building, and interview preparation expertise.
They knew that individuals face loss and grief challenges when trying to rebuild and that regaining a sense of purpose in life often involves finding fulfilling employment.
The takeaway point was that recovery from loss and grief involves emotional healing and practical steps toward rebuilding one’s future, including finding meaningful employment.
Nestle and Nescafe served beverages to the participants, providing comfort and nourishment to attendees as the event was an emotionally intense event, and they were likely to go through a range of emotions.
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The impact was immense, and the majority benefited from this, including me.
Remember, your mental health is your priority.