Breaking the Silence: A Personal Journey of Resilience and Advocacy in Mental Health
Greetings, esteemed members of MHIN. My name is Godfrey Kagaayi, and I am from Uganda. Today, I want to share my personal journey of living with depression with you all and how it has shaped my life, as well as my new role as the Principal Coordinator for the Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH). I am also proud to be the Founder of Twogere, a Ugandan community mental health organization that is striving to transform the way young people think and act about mental health issues.
In 2009, while I was studying at university, I was diagnosed with depression. It was a challenging and isolating time for me, primarily because of the prevailing stigma associated with mental health in our society. The weight of that stigma made it extremely difficult for me to open up and talk about my struggles. I felt compelled to keep my depression hidden, fearing judgment, rejection, and misunderstanding from others.
Fortunately, my life took a turn for the better when I joined a support group. It was within this safe and understanding space that I discovered the power of sharing my experiences and engaging with my support systems. The support group provided an environment where we could openly discuss our challenges, seek guidance, and find solace in the company of others who truly understood what we were going through. It was a transformative experience that ignited a spark within me to create change and challenge the stigma surrounding mental health.
Motivated by my personal journey and the desire to make a difference, I founded Twogere, a community mental health organization. Twogere aims to shift the narrative around mental health, particularly among young people, by fostering a culture of openness, understanding, and support. We believe that mental health should not be a taboo subject but rather a topic of conversation that encourages empathy, compassion, and access to vital resources.
Taking on the role of Principal Coordinator for the MGMH is a tremendous honor and opportunity for me. In this position, I have the privilege of contributing to a global initiative that seeks to improve mental health services and support systems worldwide. It is an immense responsibility, but one that I embrace with passion and determination.
Through my personal experiences, my work with Twogere, and my involvement in the MGMH, I am committed to fostering positive change in mental health discourse and action. I believe that by sharing our stories, engaging our support systems, and challenging the stigma, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate world for individuals living with mental health conditions.
My journey with depression has taught me resilience, empathy, and the importance of community. It is my hope that by sharing my story and advocating for improved mental health services, I can inspire others to seek help, speak up, and realize that they are not alone in their struggles. Together, we can make a difference and create a society where mental health is valued, understood, and supported by all.