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Befrienders Kenya is a charitable organisation focusing on suicide prevention by offering emotional
support to those who may be in distress and therefore in danger of committing suicide as well as
creating awareness on suicide within communities. It is so far, the only organisation in Kenya with
a specific focus on suicide prevention.
ACTIVITIES INCLUDE :
Free and confidential listening and counseling services for
those in distress and in danger of committing suicide.
Services are provided through face to face, telephone
(calls and sms), email and postal mail.
Targeted awareness creation programs with community groups on suicide.
In creating awareness we also seek to de-stigmatize suicide and provide support, to those bereaved by suicide by
bringing the topic of suicide into conversations. This is important in a country like Kenya where suicide is most of the
time a taboo subject.
The services are run by volunteers and sustained through donations from well-wishers and through
partnership withAfrica Mental Health Foundation who provide office space and also serve our clients
who need psychiatric services.
Kenya has an increasing number of people committing suicide due to depression and distress. It is for
this reason that a small group of concerned people came together to find a way of addressing this problem which has for a long time remained a hidden problem due to the stigma surrounding it. We are modeled on the Samaritans (UK and Ireland), a charity which was established in 1953 with currently 200 branches and over 18,000 volunteers worldwide. We are members of Befrienders
Worldwide, a network of charitable organizations across the globe sharing a similar focus of providing
emotional support as a way of reducing deaths by suicide.
Befrienders Kenya was registered as Samaritans
Kenya in 2004 as a non-profit organization. However
active Samaritans work did not start until October 2007
when the office was officially set up. In 2013 the
organization changed its name to Befrienders Kenya in line with the global network which also covers the geographical area under which the organization falls.
Befrienders Kenya is run by volunteers who are ordinary people who come
from all walks of life and all backgrounds with one thing in common – to
listen and provide support to those in distress. The volunteers receive
special training in listening skills to help in responding to people in crisis.
The listeners do not give advice but give full attention, listen and do not
judge the caller. Cases that need further professional attention are referred to the appropriate people
e.g. counselors and psychiatrists. Thus Befrienders Kenya acts as an emergency service offering
emotional support services free of charge to all from across the various lines of divide.
Our Vision : A society in which fewer people die by suicide
Our Mission : To provide confidential emotional support for people, who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair and through focused programs create awareness aimed at suicide prevention.
Our Values : are based on these beliefs:
Suicide is, most times, preventable.
The opportunity to talk about and explore difficult feelings is often therapeutic.
Being listened to, in confidence and accepted without prejudice can alleviate despair and suicidal feelings and help one explore other available options.
Activities: Befrienders Kenya activities center on emotional support to those in distress and on outreach programs. Through these two approaches the following is achieved:
Assisting persons who are suicidal, despairing or in distress thus reducing suffering and the incidence of suicide.
Befriending those who feel they have no one else to turn to and understanding them as they go through difficult periods of their lives thus reducing their suffering.
Providing support and assistance where possible to victims of abuse, trauma through free counseling services.
Enabling such persons receive adequate professional help as necessary through referrals. Referrals are made to counselors, psychiatrists and other appropriate professionals depending on the nature of cases encountered.
Recruiting and training volunteers to be a part of Befrienders thereby preparing them to offer the above services effectively.
Through referrals from some of the organizations dealing with the refugee population, providing a listener and support service to this population.
Creating awareness on suicide and suicide prevention through fora with communities.
Working with community groups and youth groupsto reach out to youth (both in school and out of school) as they form a big percentage of those at risk of suicide, self-harm and in need of emotional support.
Through community fora working towards de-stigmatizing suicide and thus providing support to those bereaved through suicide.
Through various media bringing the topic of suicide into conversation in order to break silence on this otherwise taboo subject.
Befrienders Kenya marks the World Suicide Prevention Day annually on the 10th September to raise awareness on suicide and suicide prevention and has contributed to publicity of the day in Kenya.
In 2015 Befrienders Kenya marked the WSP-day at Kikuyu Hospital with the theme - Reaching Out and Saving Lives. Please read our webpage for further information on the days events.
In 2014 Befrienders Kenya marked the WSP-day together with the Zebremester youths in Nairobi with the theme “Suicide prevention: One World Connected.” The main focus was awareness on suicide and suicide prevention.
In 2013 Befrienders Kenys marked the day with a number of youth groups under the umbrella of Ghetto foundation which seeks to rehabilitate and empower the youth in Mathare slum in Nairobi with the theme Stigma: A major Barrier toSuicide Prevention.
Other Activities participated in
On the 25th November, 2014 participated in a Mind Venture International consultative forum, aimed at forming an integrated hub that will influence existing media to deal with the social and mental resilience of people and societies.
Participated in the launch of the first World Health Organization (WHO) report on suicide on the 5th September, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Facilitated a session on suicide with the Kibera Soweto East mental health group in Nairobi
Part of a free mental health helpline set up by Sitawa Wafula. The helpline offers information and support for mental health, epilepsy and related ailments as part of the global goal to reduce and prevent suicidal cases.
Took part in the emergency response activity setup by Kenya Red cross immediately after the historic attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya on the 21st September 2013. The organization sent out its counselors to volunteer their expertise to the survivors of the West gate terror attack.
Participated in a media engagement forum organized by the User’s and survivors of psychiatry in Kenya (USP Kenya) on the 27th August, 2013 to discuss the media monitoring report and other related issues.
Participated in interviews by WHO as part of WHO’S information gathering initiatives aimed at creating awareness and educating the public.
Befrienders Kenya marks the World Suicide Prevention Day annually to raise awareness on suicide and suicide prevention.
Befrienders Kenya is a member of International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Telephone +254736542304 or +254722178177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Befrienders Kenya - (Opposite Geomaps)
Befrienders Ke c/o AMHF, Mawensi Gardens, Off Elgon Road, Nairobi, Kenya.
Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide somewhere in the World
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- Breaking the Silence on Suicide