Nairobi News


Journalist recounts struggles with mental health issues

Kimani Mbugua, a multimedia journalist who has worked at Royal Media Services and Nation Media Group, has revealed that he underwent mental health issues that led him to take a break from work.

His career was on an upward trajectory. Having started as an editorial intern at Daily Nation in 2016, he would later rise the ranks to an Entertainment Reporter and Producer at Nation Media Group. He was later poached by Citizen TV, where he landed a role as a Broadcast / Digital Producer.

In an over 3-hour long podcast, Mbugua reveals that his personal life took a nosedive.

“I felt empty. I wasn’t getting the satisfaction I wanted from the relationship and therefore started cheating. My then-fiance found out, and it was the beginning of my issues,” he said in the podcast.

“I then started smoking weed. I remember the first time I did that my heart raced so fast that I rushed to the hospital. I had a candid conversation with the doctor and he advised that I don’t smoke bhang again,” he adds.

He stopped for a while but went back to it. He became addicted to it and started hallucinating. He recounts that every time he took weed, he would have an imaginary conversation with this beautiful lady in his head who would comfort him. Another addiction that took a toll on him was masturbation.

All this led to mild psychosis that took him in and out of the hospital. He moved back to his parent’s house in Thika, but he kept having relapses and was eventually admitted to Mathare Mental Hospital for 40 days in 2020. In the midst of this, he had tried resigning from Royal Media Services, but the Human Resources Department knew what he was going through and declined his requests.

“The pressure that came with working for such an organisation and being thrust into the public limelight was so much. I was going through a lot and just needed a break or to work in an organisation that I wouldn’t get so much attention,” he says.

Later, he would join Kenyans, a digital media company, but he did not last long, with psychosis taking him in and out of the hospital.

He has been admitted to the Mathare Mental Hospital twice since 2020 but says he is now okay. His advice to people – “Don’t do drugs.”