Mental Health and State Sponsored Violence Pursuing Accountability In Uganda – A Report By Taala Foundation.

The Taala Foundation hosted a virtual conversation on “mental health and the impact of state-sponsored violence on overall health outcomes for marginalized groups.”

According to the organization, the conversation was a timely intervention to bring attention to how mass arrests targeting LGBTIQ youth create complicated layers of vulnerability that ultimately impact their health.

The organization notes that, “Individuals face stigma and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. LGBTIQ youth are particularly vulnerable to multiple forms of abuse and violence. They report enduring physical verbal, and emotional abuse once their identity is discovered or suspected.”

They say “These experiences vary based on age, religion, socio-economic status, profession, and so on”.

Taala Foundation’s most recent mental health intervention in collaboration with Children of the Sun Foundation (COSF) enabled the creation of a first of its kind report that seeks to measure the impact of state sponsored violence like arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture, on the mental health and overall wellbeing of LGBTIQ youth.

“The online discussion brought to light issues of community mental health and its intersections with state sponsored violence, and served as a platform to build rapport with community advocates and allies, and to develop unified proactive efforts to tackle the multiple issues emerging.”-Taala Foundation.”

The Taala Foundation adds that, “Based on the findings from this report and ongoing events, they are working with Ubuntu Law and Justice Center, a legal advocacy organization to develop litigation within the national courts that seeks to advance the right to health and life with dignity for gender and sexual diverse youth, and challenge discriminatory torture, arbitrary arrests, and other forms of violence.”

“This case puts the LGBT community in a unique position to advocate their rights and take ownership of their narratives. From the community discussion, clear priorities for advocacy and next steps were identified with emphasis on collective coordination and community leadership.” Says Taala Foundation.

The initiative by the organization highlights the relevance of collaborative community based initiatives with advocates working hand in hand with affected communities to build comprehensive responses to address issues. Litigation is but one of many strategies that ought to be employed. It can be effectively utilized to raise awareness on lived experiences and mobilize communities to claim rights.

The Taala Foundation and partners will continue to mobilize alongside the community, partners and allies to ensure unified advocacy and coordination in response to the issues highlighted here. We will also strengthen the capacity of other organizations to respond to mental health support requests as part of a long-term strategy to address mental health challenges within the community.