Suicide is a word we barely want to hear about or speak about. It’s one of those abominations society has long hidden under the carpet and consciously decided to ignore, as if ignorance would cure its bold existence today.
According to WHO, Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
On the 10TH September 2022 Heart to Heart Spaces in partnership with Mind Bloom and Mindful conversations held the first Suicide prevention run in Uganda.
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2022 was, “Creating hope through action,” It reflected the need for collective, action to address this urgent public health issue by family members, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments.
The overall goal of the run was to raise awareness about suicide prevention in Uganda, create awareness to people towards the issue of stigma and create social support around mental illness both in urban and rural areas. It also sought to raise funds to enable people access affordable treatment.
Our objectives were:
a). To avail correct information to educate, empower and influence society on the issue of mental health and illness.
b). To open up spaces for dialogue on mental health regardless of age or gender in minority communities and make it a normal conversation rather than a taboo.
c). To raise awareness and improve coping mechanisms on mental health for both men and women.
d). To establish a broad network of young people working towards getting communities more united against the mental health issues and mental disorders like depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar disorder.
e). Significantly reduce stigma around mental health and mental illness for people who live with mental illness.
These were achieved through capacity building of our volunteers and mental health champions that led small group sessions and shared their stories about their lived experiences with mental illness and suicide.
We were able to have trained psychologists who had one on one sessions with people that needed help learning more about mental illness and how to take better care of their mental health.
We had service providers from the sector that taught and provided people with skills for good mental health/ stress management e.g. by use of art therapy or Yoga practice and meditation.
We were able to crowd source 2,821,500/= (Two Million Eight Hundred Twenty One Thousand Five Hundred) that was able to help 141 (One hundred Forty One) patients to get a 20% subsidized fee towards their treatment.
Our journey with significantly ending the stigma around suicide has a long way to go but at least we were able to take a step in the right direction and on the 10th of September we will be holding our second suicide prevention run.
WE CANNOT WAIT TO HAVE YOU AGAIN.