Looking to the Future with the Burdens of the Past: Exploring the Systems of Mental Health Treatment for War-Affected Youth in Northern Uganda
Steele, Peter D.
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Conflict-related trauma is linked intrinsically to mental health. This reality remains ever-present in Northern Uganda, as war-affected youth continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the LRA insurgency. With struggling health infrastructure, little capacity exists to address the magnitude of this issue. In place of hospitalized treatment, many local NGOs provide a variety of mental health services. These programs range from PTSD counselling to art-based therapies. This thesis asks, how do these services help war-affected populations and how can the system be strengthened? Based on the qualitative findings from grassroots practitioners, additional funding and attention is needed to combat challenges of coordination, apathy, participation, and gaps between policy and practice. Societal issues impacting scale, stigma, and poverty must be addressed. For a working holistic model of psychological care, infrastructure, capacity and finances must be strengthened and concentrated to heal the wounds of trauma which left from decades of conflict.