Introduction: Joseph Atukunda, Uganda (4) Mental health (3)

29 April, 2019

I would also urge all HIFA members to watch this excellent documentary. I have lived with severe depression for nearly fifteen years. I have coped with the help of anti-depressants, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and mindfulness techniques. The latter is a very powerful tool because it teaches you to be your own therapist. I can't stress how important that is, particularly when you are in situations where you are alone or- even worse, in my opinion- you are in social or professional settings where you can't 'escape', never mind share that you are experiencing a depressive episode.

It's even more important to draw on mindfulness/CBT when your depression isn't taken seriously or treated dismissively. Being waved away and told to 'burn some lavender oil and drink chamomile tea, that'll make you feel better', was not quite the response I expected from my family doctor, soon after my Mother passed away. Unfortunately, I've had similar experiences with other family doctors in subsequent years. From my point of view, the fault doesn't lie with them, it lies more with an issue which resonates strongly with HIFA: insufficient training which fails to take account of the importance of mental health.

To quote Dr J S Bamrah CBE, consultant psychiatrist at North Manchester General Hospital, UK:

"No health without mental health"

Best wishes


Martin Carroll

Consultant, advocate & writer on health in low- and middle-income countries 

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HIFA Profile: Martin Carroll has worked on issues affecting health in LMICs for over fifteen years. Whilst at the British Medical Association, he led a major project, funded by DfID, to develop the organisation's role as a leading advocate for improving health in LMICs, which it continues to hold today. He has worked with HIFA since 2008 and is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the following HIFA Working Groups: Fundraising, Multilingualism and Social Media. He is also the author of the monthly HIFA Blog. martinmichaelcarroll(at)iCloud(dot)com

Twitter: @MMCarroll

Website: martinmcarroll(dot)com