Improvements to National Health Policy: Mental Health, Mental Health Bill, Legislation and Justice

Helen Liebling, Laura Davidson, Faddy Gladys Akello, Geoffrey Ochola

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Previous research in Northern Uganda has found high levels of post-traumatic stress-related difficulties amongst the population. There is international evidence that psychological therapy can reduce depression, but very limited research regarding the effectiveness of therapies for trauma-related difficulties in Sub-Saharan Africa. The current research investigates the experiences of service users and providers of specialist trauma services recently opened in Kitgum and Gulu, Northern Uganda. It also examines their implications for mental health policy and legislation. A qualitative methodology was utilised whereby in-depth interviews were carried out with 10 women and 10 men survivors attending trauma services in Kitgum and Gulu. The researchers also spoke to 15 key informants in Kitgum, Gulu and Kampala. The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, to highlight the meaning behind the experiences of the participants. The research found that counselling and medication was valued by service users; and service providers felt these treatments improved depression and increased empowerment resulting in a return to engagement in social activities. However, there was a limit to the benefit that could be achieved without meaningful justice for the atrocities witnessed by and perpetrated against survivors, and the provision of compensation, which would help to meet social needs
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-64
    JournalAfrican Journal of Traumatic Stress
    VolumeJune 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

    Bibliographical note

    This article is published in a journal which is free to download from the Peter Calderman Foundation at: http://www.petercaldermanfoundation.org/publications/african-journal-of-traumatic-stress/

    This article has also been presented at the following conferences:
    Liebling, H. (2014) Survivors of Conflict and Post-Conflict Sexual Violence in Africa: Liberia, Northern Uganda and Eastern DRC. Agency in Post-Conflict Societies Voices of Post-Conflict Project.October 2014.

    Liebling, H. (2014) Role of Faith Communities in Tackling Violence against Women and Girls. Invited panel presentation at DFID Roundtable on the Role of Faith Communities in Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. DFID offices. London. November 2014.

    Liebling et al. (2015) Experiences of Trauma services in northern Uganda: Implications for Mental Health Policy and Legislation. University of Brighton, Sussex. March 2015.

    Liebling et al. (2015) Experiences of Trauma services in northern Uganda: Implications for Mental Health Policy and Legislation. Coventry University. Psychology and Behavioural Sciences. February 2015.

    Liebling, H. (2015) Survivors’ Experiences of conflict, sexual and gender-based violence in Africa and the role of faith-based organisations. Presentation given at SVRI Forum 2015 in September 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Liebling, H. (2015) Conflict and post-conflict sexual violence in Africa: Case Studies of Liberia, northern Uganda and Eastern DRC and training. International links and Research Symposium. Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology, November 2015.

    Keywords

    • Counselling
    • Experiences
    • Trauma
    • Uganda
    • Mental Health Policy
    • Legislation

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