The effects of depression can be far reaching. i.HUG’s needs assessment underscored the negative impact depression has on the lives of children and families as a whole. Based on these findings, i.HUG initiated a support group that aims to reduce depression among mothers of the children in our program.
For 16 weeks, 25 severely depressed women are meeting every Tuesday sharing their problems and supporting one another to reduce their depression, increase their functionality and general well being, and improve their abilities as caregivers.
Halfway through the session, 80% of participants reported that their depression symptoms have improved, and in turn, their functional ability has increased. Several members have been able to pick up casual work, such as selling vegetables in the market. Another woman was connected to a new job, and was able to stop prostitution. Others were referred to a treatment centre in KIsenyi-Mengo, which offers free treatment to vulnerable and needy children, women, and those with HIV/AIDS.
All this has created array of hope among the group members.
The remaining sessions are now being carried out. Individuals are working to gain a deeper understanding of their depression and what they can do to address it. Group members give others suggestions, which helps members to actively participate to realize their goals and achieve a positive life. Members use the group setting to try out new positive behaviors.
The initial results show an immediate impact, and as we complete the project, we hope to scale up this work to help even more women and their families.
I thought my life was finished, I was gone, life was like black day covered with black clouds, nights became longer. I thought of committing suicide, life was too hard for me to handle and I could not bear that pain. But since I joined this group, slowly things started changing. I realized that am not alone, hiding and killing myself could not solve my problems—and who will take care of my children if I die? I thought about that when the group discussed my case.
I am a new person.
–a participant said this in the group’s 8th session.