Heartsounds Uganda User Involvement Project, 2008

In 2008, six mental health service user champions from East London traveled to Uganda to share learning with their counterparts about the role of those with personal experiences of mental health problems in transforming mental health care in the UK and Uganda.

A social networking site and Uganda-based community-based organisation Mental Health Champion were both established as a result of this project, to enable further sharing. HeartSounds is now a leading organisation in the development of mental health peer support in Uganda.

Achievements include

  • The introduction of many Ugandan staff to principles and practice of user involvement during exchanges to the UK
  • User involvement events, groups and consultations in Uganda as part of Link development work
  • The Heartsounds initiative which brought service user leaders from the UK into direct contact with their counterparts in Uganda
  • The ongoing facilitation of the Heartsounds Uganda group
  • Ongoing project development with other user groups such as Mental Health Uganda and the Schizophrenia Fellowship
  • The development of Uganda's first formal peer support worker service to run alongside statutory mental health services

Other service user groups

ln Uganda, there are several incredible user organisations including Mental Health Uganda which operates across 18 districts and has set up drug banks to ensure consistency of medication supply, community education sessions and income generation activities.

Basic Needs are a long standing leader in the development of innovative mental health and income generation projects in Uganda.

The Masaka Branch of the Uganda Schizophrenia Fellowship and the Jinja users group are also creative and dynamic user groups striving to increase the recognition and opportunities of service expertise to have an impact on development.

Butabika Hospital also houses an Occupational Therapy Department that is fighting to increase the work and social opportunities of the many patients living within the institution.