About Africa Mental Health Foundation

Who We Are

Africa Mental Health Foundation (AMHF) is a non-governmental organization, based in Kenya dedicated to research in mental and neurological health and, substance use to generate evidence for policy and best practice in the provision of affordable, appropriate, available and accessible mental health services.

AMHF brings together the widest possible spectrum of professionals from both mental health and non-mental health fields to work together under one roof working in research and interventions in mental health.

The Founderprof
Prof. David Ndetei, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi, Kenya founded AMHF in 2004 to address the existing gap in mental health research and provision of mental health services in Kenya. He is also the current Chair of the African Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) and Zone 14 representative of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA).

He has served as the Principal Investigator (PI) for nearly all Kenyan published clinical and community epidemiological studies on mental health, authored six books and 21 monographs, and over 250 publications in professional Journals.


To be the centre of excellence in Africa for research, training, knowledge translation, and advocacy in mental health.


To go beyond the ordinary in conducting innovative research, knowledge translation, training, capacity
enhancement and advocacy realized through:

1. Multi-disciplinary, multi-sectored approaches
2. Strategic partnerships and alliances
3. Continually developing our internal capacity and capabilities
4. Strictly adhering to our core values and ethical standards and
5. Conduct our activities in a manner that safeguards the environmental conservancy.


We have over the past 10 years, partnered with public and private institutions both locally and abroad to:

1. Conduct mental health research and disseminate findings
2.  Develop innovative practices for mental health services in the context of prevailing socio-cultural and economic factors
3. Enhance capacity in mental health and mental health research
4. Advocate for mental health and the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities
5. Engage and influence policy makers in mental health.


1.  Team spirit
2.  Flexibility
3.  Continual improvement
4.  Innovation
5.  Professionalism
6. Integrity
7.  Non-discrimination

Our History

Establishing AMHF was conceptualized in the year 2000 by Professor David M. Ndetei, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi. It all started when Prof Ndetei and three of his students came together to volunteer their expertise to improve the mental health of underprivileged Kenyans, initially through advocacy. Previously and to-date, Prof Ndetei was heavily invested in the training of psychiatrists in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi. His efforts contributed to Kenya having the best psychiatrist: population ratio of any country south of the Sahara and outside South Africa (approx 1:500,000).

Despite this great accomplishment for the country, the reality on the ground paints a different picture. Nearly all psychiatrists are concentrated in urban areas with a significant proportion remaining in private practice and providing services to only those who can afford them. The realization that this situation was likely to persist into the foreseeable future with majority of the population left without access to mental health services due to poverty and location demanded that another way be established to meet the needs of the poor with mental illness.