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Uganda Youth Convention UK 2018 set for tomorrow as Team Uganda arrives in London

Star singer Jose Chameleone to spice up the convention

The Uganda Youth Convention UK 2018 is set to take this Saturday at Royal Regency Hall Manor Park London.

The convention will mainly focus on issues affecting the youths. Legendary singer Jose Chameloene will headline the convention.

The UK Uganda Youth convention 2018 is to save lives through tackling mental health stigma in the community.

In the recent years, the Ugandan community in the UK has lost many individuals because of mental health-related illnesses among others. Even though some Ugandans in the UK have accessed mental health services but some are struggling or suffering in silence due to the fear of being judged or stigmatised.

According to the available figures, 5668 individuals committed suicide and many others attempted to end their lives in England and Wales in the year 2016. Many reasons can be attributed to the above figures, and mental illness is among them. According to reliable sources, 72% of those who committed suicide between 2002 to 2012 had not discussed their feelings with any medical professional in a year before their demise. These are not just numbers but people who are highly needed in the community, we pay our respect to them and offer comfort to the families. Even though many have died but many are still struggling and can be saved. Therefore, we call upon you to join us on this Saturday 26/05/2018 at Royal Regency Manor park London starting 9:30 am to take control of the situation. The mental health session will be facilitated by a team of professionals and various organisations like Ultimate counseling services, African Equality Foundation among others will be on hand to continuously support people.

The time is now to come together to fight the deep-rooted stigma attached to mental illness. The UK Uganda Youth convention believes that stigma is a silent killer that must be addressed openly without any fears. It has been estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK is experiencing or has experienced mental illnesses. According to the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) mental illnesses come in many forms ranging from anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorders among others. Sadly, the available research indicates that some people in the black community are unable to rightly give any form of mental illness or accept that mental health is real and affects members of the community. This can e be reversed if we openly talk about mental health in our communities.

According to numerous studies there are so many causes of mental illnesses among the black community in the UK including racism, unemployment, isolation, misuse of substances. Others are dealing with a past or current traumatic experience like loss of a loved one, being a victim of torture or abuse, dealing with the immigration authorities, domestic or family issues among others. Unfortunately, the UK Uganda Youth convention has learnt that some people in the community wrongly attribute mental illness to God’s punishment of the victim or the family. Some others attribute the illness to cultural factors with no clear information given for their answers. We believe the convention will be another platform to turn this round.

Even though people from the black community including Ugandans living in the United Kingdom have lower rates of common mental health disorders, on the other side, they are more likely to be diagnosed with a severe mental illness. The UK has one of the best systems to deal with any disease including psychiatric disorders. However, research indicates that people from the black community rarely voluntarily present themselves to these services. The convention has learnt that many individuals believe that the system does not understand them or able to deal with their cultural background issues and many others fear the stigma attached to people who access such services. We firmly believe that shame is in the refusal to offer support to mental health victims.

It is unfortunate to learn that many black African people in the UK enter the mental health services through the judicial system instead of primary medical care like other ethnicities. They are more likely to be sectioned under the mental health act; they are more likely to be offered pills instead of psychotherapy treatment. They present themselves late for treatment when they are very ill. It has also been alleged that some black people feel that the mental health services are more forceful towards them. The convention has discovered that many people from the community disengage from professional treatment and resort to self-medication using traditional untested herbs which lead to deterioration of the illness. These are challenges that we must deal with such we can save the situation. We can never continuously blame the authorities without taking some caring and loving responsibilities toward others as a community.

According to Agatha B who has spoken openly about her past experiences with mental health, it was unfortunate that when I was suffering from the illness, the black community was judging me instead of giving me support. I was driven to attempted suicide twice, lost myself. My family did not understand what I was going through neither did my friends. Instead, I was labelled ungrateful and spoiled, all I needed was understanding, acceptance, love and support. I strongly believe that my speaking at the convention might be of help to others. I wish the convention happened years ago, but never too late, I appeal to parents, guardians, young, adults and every person to come to the convention. Together we can.

The convention is free, open for all and proudly sponsored by Kwiksy mobile app. It will be honoured by the Ugandan ambassador to the UK. Immediately after the convention, there will be the concert headlined by the one and only Legendary singer Jose Chameleone of the Leone Island, Clinton Elvis, Kleo, Prince Martin among others.

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