Mental Health in Uganda and Canada: A Descriptive Case Study of the Issue and Recommendations for Improved Mental Health

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Cayley Lynn Mackie
Lori Bradford
Eric Enanga


Mental health is a crucial part of overall wellbeing. Canada’s mental health system has progressed over the last decade but still has room for improvement. In comparison, developing countries, such as Uganda, have not shown the same progression with their mental health systems. The embedded experience, together with expert consultations in the field, was conducted over several months at a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) specialized hospital, the Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC) in Kampala, Uganda on the topic of mental health systems. The observations and consultations were thematically analyzed into four main themes: cultural attitudes towards mental illness, the interconnectedness of childhood HIV and mental health, a gap in education for mental health professionals to become certified, and barriers to addressment of mental health issues at the JCRC. The main barriers for Ugandans seeking professional treatment were also identified, which included the accessibility and availability of professional treatment. Local solutions are outlined, as well as recommendations for improvements and future research.