YOUBELONG HOME. THE INAUGURAL PROGRAMME OF YouBelong
YouBelong HOME is the inaugural programme of YouBelong. The programme will be run by YouBelong Uganda,-a registered and autonomous not for profit Non-Governmental Organisation, in Uganda.
Founded by David Cappo and Brian Mutamba, and Chaired by Dr Nathan Kenya-Mugisha, YouBelong-Uganda is committed to transition people out of institutional care in Uganda and back into the care of strengthened families and local communities.
The video below illustrates the challenges of working in Uganda and some of the steps we have taken to bring people back into their respective communities.
YouBelong HOME is a 4-year programme in Uganda to be implemented in cooperation with the dedicated staff of the national referral mental hospital in Kampala, Uganda, and other government personnel as well as community leaders. This important and innovative programme is designed to transition many hundreds of discharge-ready patients back to their families and communities and establish local support services that have the potential to develop into a cohesive and robust community mental health service.
YouBelong HOME will be developed as a template reproducible in other East African countries.
Key challenges for the YouBelong Home Programme are:
At the hospital level:
- High levels of mental illness-related stigma in the community which includes a culture that strongly identifies mental illness as ‘madness’ and unable to be ‘cured’
- Increased use of traditional healers and faith healers as the first ‘port of call’ for people exhibiting symptoms of mental illness
- Lack of professional training of community and village health workers in mental health
- Apart from some dedicated NGOs working in the area, a scarcity of community mental health support and access points in the community for families and individuals with mental health needs
At the community level:
- A culture that identifies being hospitalised as the main ‘treatment’ for people with mental illness resulting in an overburdened hospital system with very limited financial and personnel resources
- The process of institutionalisation occurring in the lives of many people admitted to a mental hospital with associated behaviours such as apathy, resignation, conformity, loss of self-respect, loss of self-identity, and a loss of hope
- A government health budget that is under pressure with limited resources for mental health
- Disruptions in the supply of mental health medicines
Key support for the YouBelong Home Programme
Mr Patrick Bitature (Patron of YouBelong and Honorary Consul of Australia to Uganda), Mr Tim Nash (Assistant to Sir Michael Hintze) Monsignor David Cappo (CEO YouBelong), President Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, Sir Michael Hintze (UK Finance Sector Leader and Supporter of YouBelong), Dr Annalisa Jenkins (Chair of YouBelong Trustees) at a meeting held on 4th February 2019, at Uganda State House, to discuss the work of YouBelong in Uganda.
- Dedicated and helpful staff from the national referral mental hospital staff who are keen to see new community care arrangements for discharged people
- Excellent trusting relationships between the national referral mental hospital and YouBelong, and with key Ministry of Health officials
- A regional and decentralised health structure in Uganda, that provides a blueprint upon which YouBelong HOME can work
- Emerging partnerships with key health professional bodies
- Support from key personnel from religious organisations for the programme