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Kenya Red Cross launches transformative initiatives to tackle mental health

The Kenya Red Cross (KRCS) has launched three transformative initiatives; the AI Mental Health Chatbot, Mental Health Framework and USSD Code.

The three initiatives which were unveiled Thursday embody the commitment to revolutionizing mental health support.

In a statement by Kenya Redcross on X, the Chatbot, can be accessed on their website, http://redcross.or.ke and in the other platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Telegram.

The Chatbot offers immediate assistance and resources via AI technology, while the Framework integrates comprehensive mental health services into our community.

“The KRCS Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Framework, developed in collaboration with other partners such as the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) PS Reference Centre, prioritizes community-based interventions, resilience-building, and stigma reduction, reshaping emergency response strategies.” KRCS said.

The Chat Care is an AI-powered Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) chatbot developed in collaboration with the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), Microsoft, and PathWays International.

Chat Care provides realtime assistance and support 24/7 across various platforms, including Telegram, Webchat, Facebook Messenger, and the KRCS website.

“This user-friendly tool offers accurate information, empathetic guidance, emotional support, extending mental health support to remote regions, and overcoming stigma barriers.” The Society noted.

In response to the heightened demand for telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, KRCS also launched a USSD platform seamlessly integrated into its emergency hotline 7891199#, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Lavington.

“The USSD Code (*789*1199#) service provides accessible support for users without internet access, ensuring inclusivity in the mental health efforts.” KRCS said.

Dr. Ahmed Idris, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society, stated, “My commitment to mental health advocacy stems from a deeply held belief in the intrinsic value of every individual’s mental well-being. I firmly believe that mental health is not a luxury but a fundamental human right, one that must be safeguarded and nurtured, especially in times of adversity.”

KRCS stressed that the innovations reflect the Society’s dedication to improving mental health services, prioritizing the well-being of Kenyans, and fostering resilience within communities.