Mental ill-health in Uganda during the covid-19 pandemic

I am thinking about how hard hitting the covid-19 pandemic is on the mental health of us, the survivors. Often you hear or read of agonizing stories of how loved ones watched on helplessly us our healthcare system failed us not only once, twice, but repeatedly, every single day.

Social media is awash with death announcements due to covid-19 infection and also because of preventable deaths that may have been avoided if our healthcare system was not completely broken because of the covid-19 disease burden.

For example, this is a true story that happened a few days ago at Soroti Regional Hospital, shared on Facebook by the grieving:

“He was given oxygen for a few hours which got finished before he could stabilize. We spent the whole evening frantically trying to find oxygen but without success. Papa sadly died at around 1:00 AM Ugandan time as my sister and brother looked on helplessly.”

As I make every effort to cope with this second covid-19 induced lock down, I am truly struggling mentally and emotionally. I try to make sure that I don’t slide down a rabbit hall that may lead to full on depression for me.

I have read advice from others that urges us to “tune out from social media.” Yes, I think for some it is good advice. But I add that as one tunes out from social media, one needs to reach out to people who truly care for them and from whom they may get reassurance and encouragement not to despair.

At the same time, if you know people who may be as delicate, make it a point to reach out. Tough times we are in and in Uganda, mental health wise, we are on our own. A population of 40 million plus is served by only 30 psychiatrists or may be less!

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