Eric’s Recovery Journey

The peaceful routine of Eric’s life took a sudden turn when his behaviour, driven by voices that only he could hear, suddenly shifted—he started to destroy things, engage in violent arguments with his wife, and roam the hills around his village in Nyanza, Rwanda, obsessively collecting stones. Married for over a decade and a petty trader at the Butantsinda market, Eric’s marked change in behaviour was alarming for both him and his wife.

A glimmer of hope emerged when Eric’s wife learned about the signs of mental health conditions through a community sensitization provided by trained community volunteers. She sought help and took her husband to the Gahombo Health Centre for a medical consultation. The centre referred Eric to Nyanza Hospital where he was diagnosed with a severe mental health condition. He was put on medication and received psychological treatment, marking the beginning of his journey to recovery.

Thanks to the CARE project implemented by our partner AVSI, Eric and his wife were able to obtain information about his mental health condition and the importance of treatment. Home visits and discussion groups organized by community volunteers have provided them with ongoing psychosocial support, reducing their stress and strengthening their support network. Additionally, healthcare providers trained in mhGAP have helped Eric manage his mental health condition and the side effects caused by his medication.

Today, Eric attends check-ups at the Gahombo Health Centre close to his home and regularly follows his treatment plan. He has also joined a self-help group for people living with a mental health condition, which provides a supportive environment. Now feeling part of his own community, Eric actively participates in village assemblies and events, where he shares his story with others to raise mental health awareness.