There are very few things that give the same satisfaction that doing something you are passionate about does; and this was evident in the smiles of both the young mothers as well as the day's facilitators last week, at a rehabilitation home for mothers nested quietly in Mengo.
It was a hot afternoon when the Malketha Maternal Services team arrived to find the young mothers finishing up with their lunch.
For security purposes, both the faces of these mothers and the name of the home will be left out. The team comprised of the MMS founder, an administrator and a Mental health nurse who is also a professional mid-wife. Our goal for the afternoon was to ensure that these mothers, most of them teenagers, would be able to not only recognize the significance of a mother's mental health on herself and her child, but also be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues as well as take the necessary actions for treatment.
Ms. Moureen Nakiboneka, a mother, mental health nurse and mid-wife begun the facilitation by explaining simply what mental health really is. Statistics show that one in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet very few Ugandan mothers, or mothers world-wide, have specialized mental health care packages. Because of the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health challenges, it is almost a taboo area to discuss, more-so in very conservative settings.
We kept it simple starting with basics such as why you need to be mentally healthy and how you can know that you need to seek help, to the long term impact of mental health and currently available resources in Kampala/Uganda. Ms. Moureen then took some group questions and later had a brief one-on-one session with some of the mothers.
The workshop was interspersed with quick games, ice-breakers and interactive exercises.
At the end of our time there, the mothers were asked to illustrate what had stood out for them, and from the giggles and smiles of pride that came with every raised hand, it was clear that these girls-turned-women too soon were more than willing to do what it takes.
To learn more about Malketha Maternal Services, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +256775855266.