The Butabika Hospital is the only referral mental hospital in Uganda. It provides care to people with mental illness and out-patient services for people from surrounding areas.
Mental illness in rural Uganda faces a stigma resulting in suffering people being isolated or excluded from their communities where their conditions are not understood. For this reason, adult and parents with children travel to mental hospitals where they receive assessment, pharmaceutical support and counseling. If needed, patients are accepted into the hospital for a rehabilitation period and re-assessed periodically.
Mental care in Uganda faces challenges in terms of resources and service delivery, and relies on the support of international NGOs and partnership between foreign private institutions, which provide both financial aid and training programs for specialized psychiatric officers and nurses.
An important aspect of the patient rehabilitation program is the creation of “recovery college” activities, where in-patients receives psychological support and are made aware about the challenges they will face once they are dismissed from the hospital. Some of the coaches are, in fact, former hospital in-patients who are now able to share their experience and help others throughout activities such as drawing classes, yoga, and administrative tasks.
The photos were taken in 2016, as part of my commissioned project at the Butabika Hospital in Kampala, and mental care units at the Masaka and Mbarara hospitals.