Dr. Nathan Ssewaali
New Vision Journalist
Journalist @New Vision

Dr. Nathan Ssewaali, a leading Child Mental Health Professional, and Child Protection advocate has encouraging parents in Uganda to speak to their children about their mental health and the support they can get.

The comments follow the publication of the Ministry of Health and Uganda Counseling Association report which stated that about 14 million Ugandans are mentally sick with a majority suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Nathan, who is currently a practicing professional in North America said, “COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on our children’s mental health and it’s important to recognize this.

 Anyone can struggle with their mental health, regardless of age, gender, or background. The best thing parents can do is sit down with their child and speak to them about their mental health, ask how they are doing, and speak to them about the support they can get from professionals.

“It’s vital that children and young people in Uganda know that there is free, confidential and professional support available online, or in-person whenever they need it.” He says

He also encourages children in schools to speak to school nurses and mental health support teams in case they struggle with anything

His voice now joins the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Mental Health, Hon. Geoffrey Macho who urged the government to mainstream mental health treatment in all government hospitals by increasing funds for psychiatric treatment and upgrading the Mental Health Unit under the Ministry of Health into a department, among others.

“We request the government to put budgetary plans into the budget of the Ministry of Health concerning mental health because the money allocated to the unit of mental health is very little,”  

We also request that this unit is upgraded to a department because 14 million people is not a small number; this is more than a quarter of the country’s population,” Macho said.

 

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