In partnership with StrongMinds Uganda, AVSI Foundation is implementing an evidence-based mental health education and talk therapy for people affected by armed conflicts and forced displacement in Northern Uganda. The intervention seeks to improve the wellbeing of the adult and their household.

Mental illness is a condition that anyone is prone to when predisposed to adversity with the most common mental condition being depression. Depression has proved to be a silent epidemic that causes significant impairment in daily life and claims so many lives annually. The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioural and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behaviour or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

Adults who are the primary caregivers of children fall short in their duty of care when affected by such conditions as depression. They usually transfer their aggression to children; household heads with mental distress are incapacitated to care for their children.

The intervention has worked with caregivers using the Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Group; a simple talk therapy model that has resulted in the treatment of over 14,000 refugees from South Sudan and Congo and Ugandan nationals. A remarkable 85% of household heads who accessed the talk therapy are better caregivers providing care and the holistic needs of their children and all household members. Therefore, mental health is critical in the protection of children.

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