Uganda is at the center of Africa’s refugee crisis. Bordering the conflict zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the country has absorbed 1.5 million displaced people since 2016. Uganda hosts more refugees than any country in the world after Turkey and Colombia.
Depression is common among refugee populations, triggered by compounded traumas and hardships. Most refugees have been separated from loved ones. Some have been held captive, incarcerated, tortured, or the victims of rape or sex trafficking. Many have seen loved ones kidnapped, assaulted, or killed.
After difficult journeys to safety, refugees face new hardships establishing homes and livelihoods where they have no social connections and may not be welcomed. Many have no choice but to work illegally. Refugee settlement camps are notoriously risky places for women and girls–daily chores such as fetching water or firewood can expose them to violence and sexual trauma. Up to 40% of refugee populations experience depression.
To treat depression in Uganda’s refugee population, StrongMinds partners with local non-governmental organizations already working in the region. We provide support, training, and ongoing technical assistance to build local capacity to address mental health challenges now and into the future.
We aim to treat depression in some 33,000 refugee women and youth from 2023-2025, with another 132,000 children and young people subsequently thriving because their mothers are now depression-free. With their mental health restored, refugee women and their families have the chance to go on to live healthy, productive, and satisfying lives.