The Entebbe based Nkumba University has launched a mental health awareness day aimed at creating awareness about mental health related issues among students.
The mental health awareness day was launched on 22 August 2022 at the University hall and it will be observed at the beginning of every semester hence forth.
The university is working closesly with other partners; Munange counseling association, Uganda counseling association and Uganda red cross to bring to lime light issues associated with mental health, how they affect students and tipping students on how to approach these dilemmas.
Speaking on behalf of the Dean of students, Mr. Joseph Muyiira said that this initiative will be recurring every semester, he also noted that Nkumba University is one of the private institutions that has devoted alot of effort in improving the community well-being.
Mr. Muyiira further revealed that, “most of the students we get are from humble backgrounds and mental health is eminent in such circumstances, for example,we had a student of Rwandan origin who was a victim of the April 1994 Rwandan genocide and every April, this girl would become schizophrenic and violent, it took us a great deal to engage her in such incidences,”
“Mental health is real, but I thank Munange counseling association for their great deliberations in curbing mental health related challenges within the University,” he added
Kiravura Umar. Director Generation health initiatives in a rather bizarre scenario, he narrated that , “In Kasanje, where I hail from, we woke up to bizarre news about an incident where a 70 year old man had been ruthlessly hacked to death by his own grand son, this young man needed help, the community tried but failed, mental health related issues are real,”.
“1 out of 5 children are experiencing mental health related issues, With the initiation of Generation Health Initiative, we have embarked on engaging schools and communities to promote positive behavioral change and equipping care givers with parenting skills,we are here to ensure that you get clear information regarding this silent killer, feel free to engage us at all levels “ he added.
Nkumba University Academic Registrar, Dr.Frank Pio Kiyingi noted that, “Lock down and COVID 19 left latent content related to health illnesses seated in our psychic, we have not healed from the panic, stress, emotional detachment due to social distancing. Authorities didn’t know that the problem was physical distancing but not social distancing. Social distancing instead denied people the opportunity to connect emotionally”, he asserted.
Dr. Kiyingi’s statistics show that 53% of Ugandans are emotionally exhausted to-date due to the impact of COVID-19, he further states that grief, depression, alcoholism, adjustment disorder, psychosomatic disorder pathological grief, post traumatic stress are one of the most common signs of mental breakdown and called upon students to report such issues so that they can be managed in a timely manner.
Dr. Kiyingi has also developed a model that can help tackle post COVID-19 health related issues that he coined as ‘SPAP model’.
With this model, health workers are able test a variety of social attachments such as Space, Patience, Authority and Power to determine the health related issue a person may be suffering from.
Students also got free counseling and donated blood adding Close to 50 pints of blood to the national blood bank courtesy of red cross.
According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Health and Uganda Counseling Association as published in the media in May 2022, about 14 million Ugandans are mentally sick with a majority suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.