Dr. Catherine’s story: creating healthier communities

Dr. Catherine Amulundu's mental health & addiction treatment centre is providing necessary healthcare in Kenya and beyond.

Date

2021

Location

Nairobi, Kenya

We want psychotherapy to be more accessible to all and are taking steps to make this a reality.

Dr. Catherine Amulundu, Founder of Fountain of Hope and Road to Growth participant

My name is Dr. Catherine. I am a clinical psychologist and the founder of Fountain of Hope in Nairobi – a mental health facility which provides holistic mental health care services 

I have been running the treatment centre since 2009. According to statistics, one in every four people have a diagnosed mental health problem, so there is a great need for our facility in Kenya. However, I noticed that while my services were in demand, my business was a mess. I was not seeing much financial return for the work being put in. So I decided to do something about it. 

The opportunity to attend the programme was one of the best things that happened to me.

I applied and was accepted to take part a structured business training geared towards women – the Road to Growth programme. The opportunity to attend the programme was one of the best things that happened to me. I learned how to re-design my business strategy, define my vision, and plan for both short- and long-term ambitions. I also gained practical skills in improving business visibility via social media marketing, for example, as well as financial management. I have a dedicated social media manager now, running all our social media platforms! A turning point for me, was learning how important it is to separate my personal and business finances.  

As a result of the training and increased visibility, Fountain of Hope’s client turnover has increased. We are seeing a rise in patients hailing from further afield, such as Malawi, South Africa and Uganda – sure signs that we have expanded our market beyond Kenya. Our team spirit and morale has improved dramatically, and I would like to think that our clients are also receiving better quality services.  

People around here do not traditionally seek out mental health treatment due to the stigma associated with it. But now, especially with the devastating impact of COVID19, people have been pushed into a corner, resulting in higher instances of drug abuse. We are finding a lot of our young people abusing marijuana, alcohol and even prescription medication. The opioid crisis has officially arrived in Kenya. 

We want to improve the lives of the people in our community, and this goes beyond treating those who seek help at our facility. We provide jobs where we can, and source the products that we use locally. We have set up counseling programs for young people, to sensitize them to the dangers of drug addiction. Our WhatsApp group and forums are further avenues for community engagement and education around mental health. Ultimately, we want psychotherapy to be more accessible to all and are taking steps to make this a reality.  

We observe that the community is more appreciative of the work that we are doing. So if you ask me, we are impacting our environment in more ways than you can imagine. 

We observe that the community is more appreciative of the work that we are doing. So if you ask me, we are impacting our environment in more ways than you can imagine. 

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