In January 2017 in Omoro and Nwoya districts, in the Acholi subregion, Lay Counselors identified, treated and or referred 175 cases of mental health for treatment.
More than 20 years of the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict left communities in northern Uganda shattered.
A very high percentage of the population affected by the conflict continue to suffer serious mental health problems in the aftermath of the conflict. These problems mostly go untreated due to lack of resources and high levels of stigma attached to mental illness.
The Lay Counsellors were trained by THRIVE Gulu, a USAID SAFE grantee. They counselled and closed 90 cases and referred the rest to medical workers for further handling.
The cases treated by the Lay Counsellor included a family of six in Koch Goma sub-county, all of whom are HIV positive, who had lost hope and had developed psychoses since they were not accessing anti-retrovirus treatment (ART) due to stigma.
The cases referred to medical facilities included 42 of gender-based violence; 38 of epilepsy; 13 cases of alcohol and substance abuse; five of attempted suicide; and 10 of HIV/Aids.
After receiving counselling the family of six are now receiving ART at Koch Goma Health Centre III and are already showing signs of improvement.
Apart from counselling and treatment Lay Counsellors also conduct community awareness campaigns on mental health to help reduce stigma and to encourage people with mental health problems to seek assistance.
Tackling the psycho-social effects of the LRA conflict is just one of a number of outcomes made possible by the USAID Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace (SAFE) Program in post LRA northern Uganda. For more about the SAFE Program, visit us online at: www.safeprogram.ug.