Mental Illness On The Rise Among Youth- Report

According to statistics, mental illness is highly associated with population growth.

Studies show that in every 100 people, 1 is mad, 1000, 10 are made and if they are 10,000, 100 will be mad.

Experts say that 60% of mental illnesses start at the age of 14 years. Some of it is detected and some is not. It also adds that such is the reason Uganda is experiencing increase in the number of cases.

Causes of mental illnesses

A report by World health Organization shows that harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviors such as unsafe sex or reckless driving.

Derrick Muhindo an activist notes that many youth in Uganda today are into drugs, a major cause of mental illness.

Gorret Mbabazi a medical practitioner notes that an increase in non-communicable diseases has also been a great cause of mental illness since the two are related.

“The growing population is partly the reason we have many cases of mental illnesses.  A problem affecting majority of the people in society ends up affecting everyone,” Muhindo notes.


He adds that depression among adolescents is the third leading cause of mental illness in Uganda and the reason most youth between the ages of 15-29 commit suicide, globally there is a general increase in mental illnesses and that by 2020 depression will be a common problem.

Diseases like malaria and HIV if not properly treated can cause mental illnesses because they affect the brain directly.

Muhindo advises parents to take their children for medical checkup the moment they notice a change in the way they behave.

Ivan Mukisa, a former drug addict and now a “free drug world” advocate notes the reason mental illness is rampant is because people get back to drugs after going through the necessary treatment.

“Peers pressure among youths has seen so many of them engage in drugs from schools and universities, even when they go through the necessary treatment, they get back to drugs due to the kind of friends they keep. If you have gone through the necessary medication, it’s very easy to avoid getting back to drugs,” he notes.

What government should do

Mukisa notes the government should put and enforce laws on manufacturers of alcoholic products, its packaging, whom it should be sold to and where it should be taken from.

He adds that the government should create awareness on the dangers of drugs and how to avoid them. This he says reduces drug intake as most people take them innocently without knowing the end results.

“People should be taught to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and pregnant women to be cautious since the period between conception and delivery is a crucial time in a child’s life,” he says.

A report by Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, described the new Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 as a landmark achievement: it focuses on international attention on a long-neglected problem and is firmly rooted in the principles of human rights.


The action plan calls for changes. It calls for a change in the attitudes that perpetuate stigma and discrimination that have isolated people since ancient times, and it calls for an expansion of services in order to promote greater efficiency in the use of resources.

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