One of the challenges that face anyone with a substance use disorder (SUD) is finding someone who will listen to them and keep their privacy.
There are many people with SUDs who need to get help but want to remain anonymous due to the stigma attached to addictions and mental health disorders.
This digital platform allowed many Kenyans to call in and access mental health and addiction support services and this transitioned into full-on face-to-face therapy over the years.
Some of the patients, she noted, were skeptical about using the phones as they thought their identities would be revealed and possibly reported and traced for using controlled substances.
Today, Kendi runs a practice in Nairobi called Niskize which is Swahili for ‘listen to me. This name is apt as listening is at the very core of therapy.
Recently, Kendi Ashitiva shared how she started out counseling practice as a call center in 2016 at the peak of mobile phone penetration in Kenya.
Her story aired on season 2 episode 2 of Africa Health Check in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
She noted that when a patient has support from their family and society, the healing process is better.
“As a therapist, I help people with substance use disorders, as well as their families because I believe whenever you handle somebody with a substance use disorder, you are not just treating the person you are treating the system”, said Kendi.
She has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and is currently pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology. Kendi has done a lot of work in trauma care and was part of the teams that were providing trauma care intervention in the two major terror attacks in Nairobi.