Home Institution

Colorado College

Publication Date

Summer 2017

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


This paper discusses the topic of mental illness stigma and treatment in Uganda as explored through internship in the Social Work Department at Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital. The objectives of this project were to complete a meaningful internship while exploring causes of mental illness in Uganda, contradictions between traditional and modern approaches to treatment, and the affect of stigma on mental well-being. The internship included a total of 120 hours at Butabika Hospital. Individual research using documentary and literature review methods accompanied the internship. Butabika Hospital did not consent to the completion of formal research at, so any conclusions are not significant research findings but merely educational in nature. The internship experience allowed for the completion of project objectives. It became evident there were three main causes of mental illness in Uganda: gender roles, cultural expectations of family, and poverty. Those who have developed mental illness face stigmatization by their community largely due to misunderstanding and disconnect between tradition and modern medicine. Mental health care providers work to mitigate discrepancies between traditional and modern methods and understanding through a cooperative approach. Improvement of mental well-being of Ugandans will have a large impact on their ability to develop as a nation. Commitment to both traditional and modern traditions is crucial to providing socially acceptable health care.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Health Policy | Mental and Social Health | Multicultural Psychology | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing | Public Health | Social Welfare


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