Thandiswa Mhe, a Philani mentor mother, met a client Nomasango* in Site B, Khayelitsha, who is 49 years old, has one child and was separated from her husband. The client was separated from her husband for 4 years when Thandiswa met her. The husband came back after 4 years to reconcile with his wife. 6 months after his return Nomasango fell sick with shingles. She went to the clinic and was diagnosed with HIV. The client became traumatised and would hear voices, she struggled to accept her condition. The mentor mother, Thandiswa, offered her counselling and encouraged her to attend all her clinic appointments and take her medication.

The client continued to struggle with self-acceptance. One day while Thandiswa was on training she received a text message from the client stating that she was going to commit suicide and she asked Thandiswa to inform the client’s family about it. Thandiswa rushed to the house of the client and found that the house was full of people. She also found the client’s suicide note on the table which was addressed to her daughter. The client had thrown away all her medication and her clinic card. She planned to take her own life by eating rat poison which she had already mixed in her food. The mentor mother intervened and calmed the client down, she managed to get the client to change her mind. She took the client to the clinic when she was calm, but the clinic refused to attend to her without a clinic card. The mentor mother managed to get access to the clinic manager. After explaining the situation, the manager agreed to help her. The client was given new medication and offered more counselling and support. The mentor mother decided to take the client’s medication to her own home and she goes to the client’s house every morning to prepare breakfast for her to ensure that she eats before taking her medication. She also goes there in the evening to prepare her dinner and give her the medication. The mentor mother has referred the client to Nonceba in Khayelitsha for further support and counselling.

*Names have been changed to protect identities