Care for families supporting a member with severe mental illness
July 11, 2018
YouBelong Uganda works to counsel families that are going through difficulties caused by mental illness because they may end up traumatized and thereby affect the recovery of the family member.
“Dombole” is a 32 year current hospital patient. He has been diagnosed with chronic psychosis and has had several admissions because of relapses caused by defaulting medication. During these relapses he appears anxious and has low levels of concentration. His last relapse was different from what the mother was used to — he was unexpectedly aggressive and authoritative.
“He also ate dead cats and dogs” his mother said in disgust.
During the his pre-discharge visit Dombole told the YouBelong staff that it all started when he heard voices telling him that he should not eat food humans feed on. The voices were so authoritative and loud that he could not disrespect them. Late at night when everybody was sound asleep, he woke up to hunt for wild cats and dogs which he piled in one of the corners of his bedroom. Whenever he felt hungry, he skinned one and slaughtered it into pieces, then cooked and ate it. Some of the meat went bad and the house stunk terribly. His mother could no longer accommodate him in the house and to her surprise, Dombole chose to sleep in the latrine. He transferred his clothes and kitchen ware in the latrine and did not want anyone to enter there. He called it “my territory”. This event left his mother and sister fearful and disgusted and his mother took him to the police by force, then committed him to the hospital.
YouBelong Uganda works to counsel families that are going through similar dilemmas caused by mental illness because they may end up traumatized and thereby affect the recovery of the family member. YouBelong also educates families to understand the nature of mental illness and how to avoid relapses. Dombole’s mother and sister were educated and the fear that was within them subsided.