Aufgewachsen in Kisumu, Kenia, war Michelle nie mit Themen zur psychischen Gesundheit konfrontiert. Im Alter von 13 Jahren war Michelle persönlich von den Auswirkungen psychischer Gesundheit betroffen, als ihre Freundin ihr anvertraute, dass sie über Selbstmord nachdenkt. 2017 gründete Michelle das Projekt „Fmile“, um das Bewusstsein zu schärfen und die Missverständnisse rund um psychische Gesundheit und Selbstmord in Kenia abzubauen.
Growing up in Kisumu, Kenya, Michelle never learned about mental health or mental disorders. At age 13, mental health affected Michelle personally when her friend confided in her that she had been contemplating suicide. Her friend was afraid to share this with anyone else because of the judgment and misconceptions connected to the taboo topic of suicide. In 2017, Michelle founded Project Fmile to raise awareness and break down the misunderstandings surrounding mental health and suicide in Kenya. While Michelle’s initial focus was on mental disorders, she has expanded her initiative to include other negative psychological triggers including bullying, body positivity, sexual assault and unstable households. Project Fmile leads a variety of mental health campaigns, hosts awareness events and workshops, provides resources and support, and shares stories of brave young people who have faced mental health challenges. Over 100 young Kenyans have taken advantage of Project Fmile’s online therapy referral and support group. In 2020, Michelle hopes to raise funds to support survivors of sexual assault who cannot afford therapy. Eventually, she wants to offer ongoing mental health services and wellness centers throughout Africa, at a minimal cost to patients. Michelle believes that no one should ever have to hide behind a fake smile, or “fmile,” and endure a struggle with mental wellness alone.