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U.S. Government Invests in Ugandans’ Mental Health

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The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announces its first-ever mental health-focused project in Uganda.

The three-year, USD 1 million Mental Health Integration project will be implemented by StrongMinds, a mental health non-governmental organization and global leader in providing community-based, evidence-informed affordable mental health services.

The announcement comes on the heels of Mental Health Awareness Month and underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to this important issue.     

“The U.S. government recognizes that good mental health is fundamental to achieving and sustaining development objectives, in Uganda and around the world,” said USAID/Uganda Mission Director Daniele Nyirandutiye.  

Data from 2020 and 2022 show that Uganda is ranked among the top six African countries in rates of depressive disorders and has the second-highest suicide rate among East African males ages 18-35. People living with untreated mental health issues are statistically less physically healthy, have lower economic and academic achievement, and are more likely to be crime victims and to be recruited into criminal or extremist activity. Unaddressed mental health issues can harm individuals, families, and societies, and considerably influence development results.  

To address these concerns, the Mental Health Integration activity will:

1) improve mental health and overall wellbeing among activity participants; 

2) increase locally available, evidence-informed, affordable mental health services by training community members in how to effectively deliver these services; and 

3) contribute to and build the local evidence base around mental health and development, which will in turn inform policy advocacy and decision-making.

The project will work across existing USAID programming throughout Uganda in child protection, health, education, economic growth, and human rights to train community members in how to provide evidence-informed, effective psychoeducation and mental health screening and treatment. 

Additionally, the project will be funded through USAID/Local Works, an initiative created by the U.S. Congress to support local partners new to working with USAID. 

StrongMinds was founded in 2013 and provides affordable, evidence-informed psychoeducation and mental health screening and treatment to all Ugandans.

As of March 2024, StrongMinds has treated more than 500,000 people and trained community members to continue providing high-quality mental health services independently. 

USAID is pleased to partner with StrongMinds in this innovative approach to helping all Ugandans achieve their full potential.

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