Two decades of conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have driven many over the edge. The Centre Sosame is one of the few mental health clinics in the region.
The clinic can accommodate 100 in-patients and it is normally full. Patients are encouraged to socialise with each other, play games, cook and make crafts, as a way to overcome their trauma.
Distraught Anne Mwasheke, 46, from North Kivu, arrived at the centre in Bukavu last month. She revealed: “I watched two of my brothers and five of our farm workers being shot by rebel soldiers.”
Patients are encouraged to express their anxieties through drawing. This woman was gang-raped by rebel soldiers and was unable to talk or communicate for a week after the incident.
Clinic workers travel out into communities, find the worst cases and bring them to the centre, which the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (Echo) helps fund.
It is not yet known what is wrong with this new arrival who mutters incessantly and rocks backwards and forwards. Some patients at the clinic are considered incurable and live there permanently.
But the majority are discharged after about 40 days. The most common reason for mental trauma at Centre Sosame is witnessing violence. Rape, being taken hostage or torture are other causes.
More and more children are being admitted but most recover. This young boy who saw his mother raped is due to go home soon. (Words and pictures: Daniel Dickinson, Echo)