Put mental health on 2023 priority list

Several young people have issues regarding mental health. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The issue: Mental Health
  • Our view: Services such as counselling and therapy sessions, encouraging openness with no judgment, psychosocial support, among others.
  • We commend organisations and institutions that have provided mental health services to the populace free of charge or at a minimal fee.

The year 2022 has had its fair share of cases of mental illness. And this has been expressed in many ways with suicide being one of those unfortunate outcomes.

Not to say that this did not happen in previous years but it is 2022 that we are at the tail end of and is therefore in review.  We reported in the Saturday Monitor of December 5, 2022 (“What is escalating depression among the youth and adolescents?”), that  during a recent fact-finding mission on the state of mental health in Uganda by members of the Parliamentary Forum on Mental Health together with commissioners from various ministries, it was discovered that there are rising cases of depression among the youth and adolescents. It was revealed that many of the cases were fueled by domestic violence, neglect and abandonment, incest, etc.

As we exit this year, there are lessons we must take with us and one of those is that mental health should never be downplayed. Just this year, the ministry of Health stated that one in every three Ugandans is mentally-ill. If that is not a sobering statistic that calls for attention, then nothing is.

As we get into 2023, let us keep mental health at the forefront and not relegate matters of mental health to just one month, week or even day of observance. Young people particularly should be availed with facilities and services that cater to their mental health. Not only should schools be equipped to deal with learners’ mental health, parents too should know that their children have mental health needs.

Services such as counselling and therapy sessions, encouraging openness with no judgment, psychosocial support, among others. We commend organisations and institutions that have provided mental health services to the populace free of charge or at a minimal fee. The fact- finding mission pointed out Strong Minds Uganda for a notable job done in this area. We hope that more of this goodwill will be seen in the New Year.

Employers too should seriously consider their workers’ mental health. Not by simply allocating a random strange counselor’s phone contact but by creating enabling and healthy work environments.


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