“How are you?”
“Fine, thank you.”
That's your automatic reply isn't it? But if you think about it, is everything good, all of the time?
There are times when you just don’t want to show things aren’t perfect. There are times when you might not even want to acknowledge that yourself.
So you answer, "Fine, thank you".
This campaign is for you. We want you to know you are not alone.
"I didn’t see that coming. I knew something wasn’t right, but I just didn’t know what it was. My own prejudices flew to the surface. I don’t want this thing! I don’t want to worry about medication or mood swings."
Silvia is not alone. Not in Uganda. Not in the world.
300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In Uganda, a research study showed that as many as up to one in six inhabitants in two districts, Adjumani and Bugiri, showed signs of depression. That's every sixth person around you.
And it is a growing problem. By 2020, WHO predicts that depression will be the second leading cause of world disability and by 2030, it is expected to be the largest contributor to disease burden in the world.
What’s even more troubling is that individuals from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) community are TWICE as likely to suffer from major depression as compared to the general population.
If you have felt something similar to Silvia, rest assured: you are not alone.
"I was 25 when I was first diagnosed with depression. Then, to my shock, I found that my best friend was telling my LGBT friends to stay away from me. He even told my boyfriend to stay away. Maybe he thought they were going to catch it from me or that my depression would make me go on a crazy rampage. This was my first encounter with the stigma attached to mental illness."
"The reason I use drugs is basically depression. That, and stress and financial constraints. When I take drugs, it’s a pleasurable feeling."
Depression is not the only common issue. There is also violence. There is violence from strangers. But there is also violence from the ones you love the most. Violence from your intimate partner can be even more hurtful, physically and psychologically. You’re left without a sense of security, even at home.
The Global Database of Violence Against Women shows that 51% of Ugandan women have experienced violence from their intimate partner during their lifetime whereas 35% have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) in the last year. Those numbers are higher than in both Tanzania (39% lifetime, 26% last 12 months) and Kenya (42% lifetime, 30% last 12 months).
Many LGBT individuals have experienced psychological and physical abuse as sexual minorities, making it difficult for them to seek help for IPV. As sexual minorities experiencing IPV, LGBT individuals are at higher risk of depression and substance abuse than are non-LGBT individuals.
Join the campaign
We are aiming to bring light to the growing burden of mental illness in Uganda and to do away with the stigma that prevents ourselves or our loved ones from seeking the care that we need and deserve.
To show your support for the campaign:
- Create a sign with the hashtag #SeeTheInvisible
- Take a picture of yourself, your friends or your family holding up the sign
- Share the photo on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media using the hashtag #SeeTheInvisible
Remember, you are not alone. We are here for you.
Call our helpline: 0312 319 310
Remember, no one is invisible.