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Mental Health Support

Holistic care for clients experiencing mental health challenges.

In a nation where medical services are massively under resourced, it is no surprise to find that psychiatric needs are overlooked and often misunderstood. JENGA funds the only full time psychologist in Eastern Uganda. Working from the main psychiatric unit, this individual, alongside two other part time counsellors, provides the imperative support to a people group who are marginalised and rejected in larger society.

Through relational and professional interdependence and understanding, the members of Mbale’s mental health team have begun exploring the concepts and practical application of one-on-one and familial counselling, group training, and professional mentoring in a way rarely before used in Mbale.

From this process, a ground-breaking drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme with life-changing possibilities has been birthed and begun to take root among prior patients and their friends.

Rita’s Story

Whilst Rita was living in her rural village, her husband used to collect the medicines she had been prescribed for her mental health from the government hospital. There was a misunderstanding at their home and her husband was put in prison. Due to the responsibilities at home, Rita was unable to get treatment and new medication from the hospital. This sadly led to an episode of psychosis.

At that time Rita was due to give birth to her second child and her father-in-law brought her to the hospital and she was admitted. She was left there heavily pregnant, with her 2-year-old daughter without any assistance (here in Uganda it is expected that patients have their own caretakers who bring them food, assist with hygiene and other personal care).

Aidah and Esther met Rita in the mental health ward. They gave her nutritious food and they paid for and provided her with the medicines she desperately needed. As Rita had no one else to support her when she went into labour, Aidah and Esther were her care takers, ensuring that both her and the baby stayed safe. The team continued supporting the baby, buying clothes for her, helping with feeding and when Rita was ready to be discharged, the team went with her to settle back at home. They were able to follow up with her to ensure she was continuing to make good progress and were so encouraged to observe her amazing recovery.

Names have been changed to protect identities