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Desire on mental health law to stop impunity

“I was angry. At my sister Stella who drove the car to pick me up, and the family that had kept me locked up in arguably the worst rehabilitation facility for sixty two days in the first place. “We thought we were doing the best thing for you,” Stella had defended when we had discussed the subject of my displeasure before.

“We want you to be happy. There’s no way we could have kept you there if we knew you were being mistreated,” she had added, just before I broke down in tears at the whole affair. Two months ago I was drudging through a nasty dark depression. I had attempted to take my life numerous times, and I was teetering on the verge of succeeding. My family was at a loss, fearing to lose me and not knowing at all how to help me. Click here to read more of my story in a “Mental Health Rehab from Hell.”

My desire is to influence Uganda law on mental health so no one goes through a mental health rehab from hell as I did. 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 to exist and persist.”

Desire Lavingne Karakire

Photo credit: Real Health Blog

We, at CPAR Uganda, decided to publish Desire’s story and utilising some of a ‘no-strings-attached’ micro-grant that we got from the GlobalGiving Foundation, we boosted a post on Desire’s story on our Facebook page, “Healthy Dignified Lives.”

As of today, 18th August 2020, over eight thousand people had seen Desire’s story on her experience of a mental health rehab from hell!

Of them, over one thousand took the time to indicate their positive reaction to Desire’s story. Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a celebrated scholar, researcher and who is currently, a strong candidate campaigning to be elected Woman Member of Parliament for Kampala District, is among those who positively reacted to Desire’s story.

Others, include, Ms. Erina Lwamusai, a Ugandan born Company Director now living in Ghana.

“I read her story and it stirred feelings of outrage, anger, but on the other hand I want to give a hug. She made it through this ordeal. Maybe one day I will have the privilege of meeting her.”

Erina Lwamusai

Just to re-confirm the importance of the need to have a law on mental health in place and enforced, here is another one of likely thousands of heart wrenching stories of those who find themselves mentally ill and poor in Uganda:

“This child, a young girl, clearly mentally ill is reported to have wandered away from the only public specialized mental health care facility in Uganda – Butabika National Referral Hospital, ending up in the Bugolobi Market. According to reports, she arrived at the market Friday or Saturday and has been wandering in the market and sleeping rough.

Today, as I rushed from my Alinga Farms shop, going back to my car, I noticed this young girl, half-naked, laying flat on her stomach and on hot dirty tarmac. Since, I was walking fairly quickly, I passed her then I realised that I needed to stop and pay attention to this young person just laying there.

When I approached her I noticed that she kept wreathing periodically. She is probably hungry or in addition to her mental illness, she has contracted other illnesses, such as malaria, I thought. I looked closer and I saw liquid stuff oozing out of ill child’s girl parts. And I wondered.” Click here to continue reading

Ms. Norah Owaraga

Please help us to amplify the voices of those afflicted with mental ill-health, their carers and advocates. Share this post to your platforms. Thank you.

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