With latest statistics from the Ministry of Health and Uganda Counseling Association revealing that about 14 million Ugandans are mentally sick with a majority suffering from depression and anxiety disorders and that Uganda is ranked among the top six countries in Africa in rates of depressive disorders, young people who constitute the largest percentage of the population shouldn’t be left out in creating solutions for such a challenge.
Empower Youth InTechnology (EYIT), a youth-led tech hub in Mbarara, mid this year unveiled EYIT Digital Innovations Internship Program (DIIP), targeting young computing students at University, earmarking Mental Health as a major focus this year.
Cohort 1 of this program, computing students from University of St. Joseph Mbarara and Kampala International University (KIU), Western Campus, are currently being mentored to develop a digital solution for Mental Illness.
Four weeks later, the students on Thursday, 24th July 2022 presented their amazing progress, showcasing the yet developed web version of ‘Relief Minds, a one stop center for Mental Health Remedies, in a session dubbed ‘Mind Triger Talk’.
Mbarara District Local Government’s Senior IT Officer, Mr. Cyril Tuhame graced the occasion as Guest speaker, alongside A-Lite Uganda Limited’s Emmanuel Kamuhire and Barbra Amutuhaire of Ukara Mental Health Services.
“Don’t wait to have the web version ready, equally start Mental Health preventive activities in schools, Universities and generally your communities.” – Mr. Cyrill puts.
Emmanuel, who has often pitched and won a number of global competitions in Health Tech for their Vein Locator innovation, shared why thinking innovatively with tech is now inevitable for every ICT or computing student, as this now is globally demanded. Emmanuel equally shared must have traits and skills to attract funding in the Tech innovations field.
On the other hand, Barbra Amutuhaire helped paint the picture of Mental Health on ground.
“Mental Health victims and relatives often consider it a private matter. Therefore if therefore if there was a chance of them being helped in secrecy, and in privacy, they’d be glad. I.T can do achieve this. Because one would only interact with their phone or computer, not public.” – Barbra expressed.
EYIT’s interest in having these students grow into potential solvers of this challenge is simply a beginning. Next is to help these young innovators register their solution (Relief-Minds) with URSB.