In a significant policy shift aimed at promoting a more holistic approach to mental health, the government has issued directives to healthcare workers, urging them to reduce the medicalization of mental health conditions. This change represents a landmark step toward redefining the way mental health is understood and treated within the healthcare system. The announcement came from Dr. Richard Mugahi, the assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health in the ministry of health. Dr.Mugahi emphasized the need for a paradigm shift in the treatment of mental health issues challenging Health professionals to view mental health through a broader lens, one that considers social, environmental, and psychological factors alongside biological aspects.
This change in approach has been praised by mental health advocates, who have long called for a more comprehensive perspective on mental well-being. They argue that the medicalization of mental health has often led to an overreliance on pharmaceutical interventions and neglect of the underlying causes of mental distress. Fr.Pascal Kabura, a prominent psychiatrist and mental health advocate, welcomed the government’s move. He says Mental health is a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors which cannot be reduced to a mere medical condition that can be treated with medications alone. The new directives encourage healthcare workers to consider various non-medical approaches to mental health treatment, including therapy, counseling, lifestyle modifications, and social support networks.
This approach acknowledges that mental well-being is closely tied to an individual’s environment, relationships, and life circumstances. The ministry of health report released in May last year, revealed that an estimated 14 million Ugandans suffer from a foam of mental dis order. Statistics from the ministry of health and the Uganda Counselling Association revealed that every 35 out 100 Ugandans may be battling a mental health problem. The above statistics according to experts are of people who have reported to health facilities with a cute condition.
However, the experts further reveal that the figures could have doubled given the restrictions that were brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.