Of recent, there is an increased percentage of people with a mental illness condition. People with a mental health disorder might be a neighbor, friend, family member or relative or in our community. The stigma around mental health has prohibited several people from seeking the required treatment, which later leads to increased risk of suicide, poor performance at work places or even at school and high medical expenses.

Mental health is a basic human right, defined as a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.

Determinants of mental health

  • Multiple individual, social and structural determinants may combine to protect or undermine our mental health and shift our position on the mental health continuum e.g., harsh parenting and physical punishment is known to undermine child health and bullying is a leading risk factor for mental health conditions.
  • Individual psychological and biological factors such as emotional skills, substance use, and genetics can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems.
  • Exposure to unfavorable social, economic, geopolitical, and environmental circumstances – including poverty, violence also increases people’s risk of experiencing mental health conditions.
  • Protective factors that might occur throughout our lives and serve to strengthen resilience i.e., individual social and emotional skills and attributes as well as positive social interactions.

Some of the common signs or symptoms of Mental Illness

  • Suicidal thinking
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Excessive anger
  • Hostility, or violence
  • Significant tiredness
  • Low energy, or problems sleeping
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Detachment from reality (delusions)
  • Paranoia or hallucinations
  • Feeling sad or down
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people.

How to deal with the stigma around mental issues?

  • Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief by identifying what’s wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life.
  • Seeking counseling, educating yourself about your condition and connecting with others who have mental illness can help you gain self-esteem and overcome destructive self-judgment.
  • Don’t isolate yourself if you have mental illness, reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need.
  • Join a support group; Mental health services are available in Uganda at Butabika national referral hospital, NGO’s like
    TASO, Uganda Cares, Mild may and some private health facilities such as Kampala Hospital.

There are wide-spread misconceptions and stigma surrounding mental health issues and many people often suffer in silence and don’t seek treatment for their conditions. Mental health awareness is an important initiative we have committed to at Kampala Hospital to improve understanding of mental health conditions and increase access to healthcare for those who need it. We invite you to check-in on any day and request to speak with a specialist at your own convenience.