Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has partnered with Ice Breakers Uganda (IBU) and yesterday, launched their campaign dubbed See the Invisible.
The campaign is aimed at bringing visibility to the growing burden of mental health illness in Uganda, especially amongest the LGBT community. One of the main objectives the #SeetheInvisible campaign is to end the stigma around seeking mental health care and to make sure that people seek and obtain the care they need.
A website www.seetheinvisible.ug, was also launched to help people who are struggling with mental illness; the site has a self assessment page and also offers contacts to reach if one is in need of counselling or needs someone to talk to. To further bridge the gap between people battling mental illness and the health care system, a hotlinet 0319 312 310 has been set up, for persons seeking help, to get further information on how best to navigate this silent perplexity.
“IBU in partnership with SMUG and Data For Change have launched a campaign, #SeetheInvisible. We have realized that very many people, especially within our LGBT community are struggling with mental health issues- many feel like they are alone, they feel rejected and neglected and such feelings normally lead to depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety and so many other forms of mental illness. As IBU, we have a history of dealing with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but it has become clear that these people need help beyond the medical help we offer, they need people to talk to, they need to know that they are not alone and that they will get through their difficulties. Therefore this campaign is a way of addressing these very common occurrences in our community,” Dennis Wamala, the Programs Director of Ice Breakers Uganda said.
According to www.seetheinvisible.ug, 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In Uganda, a research study showed that as many as up to one in six inhabitants in two districts, Adjumani and Bugiri, showed signs of depression. That's every sixth person around you.
And it is a growing problem. By 2020, WHO predicts that depression will be the second leading cause of world disability and by 2030, it is expected to be the largest contributor to disease burden in the world.
What’s even more troubling is that individuals from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) community are TWICE as likely to suffer from major depression as compared to the general population.