This is the testimony of Desire Lavigne Karakire, which, in her own words, she shared because:

“I want to use my story and my grievances to change the law on mental health, cause the law to change, or to create the law if currently a vacuum is what has allowed for impunity like this to exist and persist.

African Retreat Centre didn’t just give me a bad experience; they took from me things that no amount of money and no degree of punishment or retribution could ever make right.

They took away my trust in a system I need just to exist and thrive, they took from me the love and trust and friendship of my family (I will never forgive my family for maintaining me there until things got as bad as they did, and I can never trust them with myself ever again), and they took away from me the brief window I had got to receive and accept treatment.

I had set aside a year to confront the issues that haunt me. I took a sabbatical from work, and it has been such a spectacular fail that I’m returning to work just after three months. I am perpetually afraid I’m not sleeping well. I’m more damaged than I have ever been.

I am a journalist and an advocate. If I can serve the greater good, I will always choose the greater good. Many times that comes with self-sacrificing. Short-sightedness won’t cut it.

The truth will continue to come out. Only patience now.”

To read her full testimony in ePDF, click here or if you prefer to read it in serialized blog posts here are the links:

Mental Health Rehab from Hell – Part I

Mental Health Rehab from Hell – Part II

Mental Health Rehab from Hell – Part III

Mental Health Rehab from Hell – Part IV

Mental Health Rehab from Hell – Part V

We, at CPAR Uganda Ltd, decided to publish Desire’s testimony in the hope that it will be read by those with mental ill-health and who are searching for the right care so that they and their loved ones may make informed decisions.

Sharing of Desire’s testimony is in line with our empirical evidence based advocacy work. We wish for her testimony to come to the attention of duty bearers within civil society and as well as government departments.

We desire that her testimony will provoke action, including but not limited to, investigation of mental healthcare service providers; ensuring that they do right by their patients; and ensure that a valid mental healthcare policy is in place and that it is fully implemented and enforced.

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