Peer Nation Exhibit Products and Services Made Through Beautiful Minds at The Cbs Pewosa Trade Fair 2023

The CBS PEWOSA Trade Fair 2023 in Lubiri Palace Mengo is currently underway, and it’s the perfect opportunity to discover the vibrant products and services of Peer Nation through the beautiful minds behind them.

Some of Peer Nation Members Displaying Products during the Trade Fair

Peer Nation covers the deficit in community mental health, provides care and supports, carries out mental health outreaches taking services to lower grade health centers and communities.

At the CBS PEWOSA Trade Fair 2023, Peer Nation is showcasing a wide variety of products and services from Beautiful Minds activities as shown in the Photos Below:

Some of Product Exhibited by Peer Nation at the Trade fair











So if you’re in the Lubiri Palace Mengo area between April 15th an 11th, be sure to sop by the CBS POWESA Trade Fair 2023 and discover the vibrant products and services of Peer Nation through the beautiful minds.

Some of Product Exhibited by Peer Nation at the Trade fair
Boy interrupted - Evan Perry the 15-year old boy who comitted sucideEvents



The “Boy Interrupted” free movie event will be held on Tuesday 28th March 2023  at The National Theatre (Green Room), Uganda National Cultural Center starting at 6:30pm.

“Boy Interrupted” is a powerful and moving documentary that sheds light on the devastating effects of mental illness. Mental illness is a topic that is often stigmatized and misunderstood. However, the documentary “Boy Interrupted” seeks to change that.

This film takes an intimate look at one family’s journey through the devastating effects of mental illness, particularly the story of their son who tragically committed suicide. Evan Perry was a 15-year-old boy who struggled with bipolar disorder and ultimately died by suicide in 2005.

The documentary promises to be an emotional and enlightening experience for all who attend.We encourage everyone to join us for this important event and to help raise awareness about mental health issues. Entrance will be free for all, so don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity.

Additionally, mental health experts will be on hand to provide resources and support for those who may be struggling with mental illness themselves or know someone who is.

[Not certified: Scenes of mental distress are depicted]

If you are affected by the content of the film, please stay at the end of the film to access the discussion, speak to the organisers or contact the phone. Contacts: 0702777641 or 0773063473

A collaboration between Peer nation, Film Club Uganda, Uganda National Cultural Centre and Butabika-East London Link




A daughter’s torment, a mother’s heartbreak. A couple’s relationship is thrown into chaos when their college age daughter starts to behave differently, become paranoid about people around her and hear voices. This film explores her and her family’s journey to make sense of her experiences

(Not certified: Scenes of mental distress are depicted)

Film followed by discussion
FREE admission, All welcome

  • Tuesday 28th February 2023 at 6.30 pm

The Green Room, The National Theatre, Ugandan National Cultural Centre

0702 777 641 or 0773 063 473

A collaboration between
Peer Nation, Film Club Uganda, Uganda National Cultural Centre and the Butabika East London Link

Peer Support Workers -We are always interested in hearing from people who want to support othersPeer Nation News

Become a Peer Support Worker: We are always interested in hearing from people who want to support others

The role of Peer Support Worker

Peer Support Workers are key to the work we do. They are trained to support their peers in working towards their recovery. It can be a hard job but one which is very rewarding and can help in supporting your own mental health. PSWs will: –

  • Share their own experiences which may be difficult at times
  • Work with peers to develop goals and plans for the future
  • Develop relationships with the peer and their family and wider community so that support networks can be developed to aid recovery

Together for Mental Health


Peer Nation is here to help. With your support, we can continue fighting for higher-quality, culturally competent care for people living with mental health conditions.

Peer Nation is needs you! Please join us in any of these roles to help others; become our mental health service user, career, mental health professional; you are are welcome

Peer Support Work (PSW) Training Manuals in English with translated versions in Kinyarwanda, Juba Arabic, Lugbara, Runyankore-Rukiga, Swahili


Exciting News!

Peer Nation is starting a new Peer Support Project in health centres around Kampala, funded by OSIEA. We are very excited and looking forward to starting this project. Watch this space!

We are also pleased to announce that Kampala Mental Health Film Club will be resumed at the National Theatre soon. Look out for the first date, we hope to see you there.

Peer Nation Training on WHOQOL- Measuring Quality of LifeEvents

Peer Nation Training on WHOQOL: Measuring Quality of Life

Institutional Strengthening and Outreach Peer Support Project developments.

A one day training on WHO quality of life assessment for Peer Nation members who are on the front line of the ongoing Institutional strengthening and Peer support project funded by OSIEA took place on Friday 20th/ March/2020. Members were taken through the WHO quality of life assessment tool exploring different perspectives and evaluation of well being. It was observed that most if not all of the tools were fit to assess the well being of the project beneficiaries. This included analysis of the fundamental aspects of recovery like independent living, good health and self care.

This was the second training following a base line survey on peer support workers which was done to assess their prior knowledge, attitude and skills before the beginning of the Peer Support activities.

Mugerwa Muzamil

Published 22nd March 2020

Kampala Mental Health Film Club - All the Bright Places (Film).jpgEvents

Kampala Mental Health Film Club – All the Bright Places (Film).

A tender antihero drama about mental health and young love which reminds us that even the heroes in our lives may need us in unexpected of situations. it is a story of Theodore Finch and Violet Marckey. Theodore Finch character brought to life by Justice smith who is a philosophical young adult and at face value larger than life. He becomes an inspiration in Violet Marckey’s (Elle Fanning) life who both first meet in grotesque of situations where she was found on the bridge contemplating suicide. It’s touching yet dramatically powerful in a sense that it defies the conventional boy meets girl love story sequences.

Viola is both timid and withdrawn. When she reluctantly pairs up with Finch on a school project. This becomes an opportunity for Finch to explore with her the small pleasures of life showing her how we grow oblivious to the beauties surrounding us as routines embed our psyche.

Both help each other face the scars of their past but it seems over weighing on Finch’s side than one could ever imagine. He had an intelligent articulation, and gaiety exudes from him. But was all of this a bravado and bluff from him or he was overwhelmed by his unlabelled mental health condition as he would say. At last, they discover that even the smallest places and moments can mean something. Live life at full brightness.

Showing soon at the National theatre; A collaboration of Butabika-East London Link, Peer Nation, Uganda Film Club and Uganda National Cultural Centre.



Global Mental Health Peer Network & Human Rights in Mental Health FGIP

COVID-19, the newly identified type of illness caused by coronavirus, declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and following an assessment, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020, by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Since COVID-19 emerged in China and vigorously started spreading throughout the world, the internet and media has since been flooded with articles and stories related to COVID-19. The information that has been put out there, range from factual and statistical findings, future predictions of impact, recommended preventative measures to be taken to “flatten the curve”, how countries are responding (or not), conspiracy theories and speculations as to where and how COVID-19 originated from, and alarming reports of people in care homes and residential facilities being neglected and excluded from the response actions to protect human life from the potentially deadly virus.

Generally, people’s mental health are (and will be) affected by this “invisible predator” that is ravaging throughout the world and forced human life onto an unimaginable journey. The impact on mental health and wellbeing of nations raise serious concerns as people globally are forced to make radical changes in how we interact with each other and how we conduct our daily lives, with compounded concerns of financial security resulting from the decline of the global economy. Change by any means is a stress factor in any person’s life and stress in itself poses a risk for relapse or deterioration in mental health for those living with existing mental health conditions. The change that we are witnessing now poses a high risk for mental health problems that will continue to impact on people’s lives, not only those with existing mental health conditions but the broader public, even after COVID-19 has been defeated. Right now is the time, apart from curbing and eliminating the spread and health impact of COVID-19, but to strengthen the mental health system in preparation to deal with increased mental health problems and respond to the mental health needs of nations.

Peer support in times of crisis is of particular value. The lived experience between a peer support worker and the person using peer support services promotes connectedness and inspires hope. Peer support offers a level of acceptance, understanding, and validation not found in other professional services. Despite the evidence of the value of peer support work, many countries do not yet recognise this untapped expert human resource, especially in low-and-middle income countries. Right now and post-COVID, peer support workers can make an enormous impact in helping to address the mental health needs of people.

Countries all over the world have instituted restrictive measures in response to COVID-19 by placing communities into lockdown, and promote physical distancing to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. It is important to note the importance of the use of terminology and veer away from the term social distancing. The repercussions of lockdown measures have showed severe impact on both economies and communities. The world has already seen an increase in unemployment, domestic violence, suicide rates, racism, an increase in people experiencing mental health problems, and of course how people with mental health conditions, especially in care home or residential facilities are severely affected (neglected) and sadly risk dying – all directly related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Vulnerable groups, such as persons with lived experience with mental health conditions are increasingly vulnerable and more so for those with comorbid conditions. Not only are they easy targets of COVID-19 infection (because of somatic comorbidity and living in circumstances where physical distancing is impossible), but are now more than ever exposed to human rights violations resulting from inadequate response actions to protect and respect their lives and address the unique set of needs and challenges of this marginalised lived experience community in an emergency situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Article 11 of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities clearly acknowledge persons with disabilities (including psychosocial disabilities) in emergency situations: “… ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.”

The Global Mental Health Peer Network as an international organisation for people with lived experience with mental health conditions and Human Rights in Mental Health FGIP an international organisation that promotes humane, ethical and user-oriented mental health services, cannot emphasise enough that it is of critical importance to involve persons with lived experience in the development of emergency response strategies from the onset, and assess the needs and challenges of the lived experience community within specific community and country contexts, and respond accordingly with specific attention to ensure that the human rights of persons with mental health conditions are at all times upheld. Persons with lived experience with mental health conditions must be authentically involved, not only in the development of the response strategy, but further in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation thereof, and also in awareness and protection campaigns.

Equality and equity must be embedded throughout the response process and execution. Accurate information on infection mitigating tips, public restriction plans and services available, as well as protective resources must be accessible to all on an equal basis. Misinformation and myths in the public domain must be replaced with reliable information, particularly considering the unnecessary anxiety caused by false information from unreliable sources.

People with lived experience with mental health conditions may particularly be susceptible to stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 crisis which could pose a serious risk of deterioration of existing mental health conditions, and therefore must have readily available treatment options (as and how they define their needs), access to adequate and responsive support services and programs, including peer-to-peer support or peer support groups, and suicide prevention programs.

A large number of people with mental health conditions who are living in care homes or residential facilities, including psychiatric hospitals are often the forgotten and abandoned of society. Sadly, stories have emerged in the media where residents or patients of such institutions have been neglected and excluded from COVID-19 response strategies. This is unacceptable.

Lockdown and restrictive measures implemented by countries where physical distancing is promoted, many care homes, residential facilities and hospitals prohibits visitations, and this particularly affect residents or patients in these institutions. Although social connectedness has been encouraged by WHO and experts in mental health, during this time of physical distancing, residents or patients are isolated from the outside world and may experience compounded feelings of loneliness and distress. Government departments must take it upon themselves to support these institutions (where required) to ensure that access to alternative forms of communication (telephone and online communications technologies) are available to residents or patients to maintain connection with their relatives, friends or peers from the outside on a regular basis.

Dire shortages of protective gear (face masks, surgical gloves, sanitizers) within the health system and more so in social care homes and residential facilities, have made headline news. The “forgotten and abandoned” in care homes and residential facilities have been at the end of the line to obtain these essential protective gear – where those working in these institutions have been placed in a near to impossible situation, expected to control a potential outbreak and protect themselves and those they care for from COVID-19 in these institutions. Human rights places an emphasis on equality and inclusivity – at no point may any specialized or other facility that cares for persons with mental health conditions be left behind or discarded as second class citizens.

We salute the health workers who risk their own lives and their own mental health, working tirelessly to protect the world against this potentially deadly disease. We also acknowledge those who are in particular placing focus on ensuring that vulnerable groups, such as people with mental health conditions, are protected and not left behind.

A particular extension of gratitude to WHO and in specific Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is tirelessly working to try and protect the world from this deadly virus and ensure that its impact is minimized as far as possible. Founder/CEO: Ms Charlene Sunkel CEO: Prof Robert Van Voren


Partners in support of the statement

Jakub Bil (CEO: Inclusive Habitat Project)Jaclyn Schess (CEO/ Founder: Generation Mental Health)Matthew Jackman (Global Lived Experience Ambassador: Generation Mental Health)Laura Smith (Australian Representative: GMHPN Executive Committee)Iregi Mwenja (CEO: PDO Kenya)Celline Cole (Global Mental Health Academic and Advocate)Enoch Li (Managing Director: Bearapy)Eleni Misganaw (Global Mental Health Advocate/ President: Mental Service Users’ Association Ethiopia)Katrina Anna McIntosh (Executive Manager/ Mental Health Specialist/ Author)Hannah Stewart (Doctoral Student: UTHealth Science Center, Department of Health Promotion & Behavioral Science)Chantelle Booysen (Global Mental Health Advocate + Social Impact Entrepreneur: SADAG KwaZulu-Natal, Global Mental Health Peer Network, Young Leaders for Global Mental Health)Abanga Marie Angele (Founder and CEO: Hope for the Abused and Battered)Japheth Obare (Chairperson of Schizophrenia Society of Kenya, Mental Health Advocate, Missionary: Schizophrenia Society of Kenya, Oasis of Mercy)Lucy Goldsmith (Postdoctoral Research Fellow and member of Executive Committee: GMHPN/ St George’s, University of London)Karen Athié (Global Mental Health Advocate/ Primary mental health care researcher/ Psychossocial Support and Vulnerable Population Director/Superintendent: Health Secretariat in Rio de Janeiro State/Brazil)Swetha Bindu Jammalamadugu (Global Mental Health Peer Network advocate/ MMED Psychiatry candidate at University of Botswana: GMHPN/ University of Botswana)Joseph Atukunda (Executive GMHPN Uganda/ President Heartsounds Uganda)Edward Nkurunungi (Executive Director: Peer Nation)Jonathan Douglas (Psychologist: Central Ontario Psychology/ Board of Directors: Badge of Life Canada)Christine Newman (LGBTQ2S Peer Support Advisor/Lived Experience Facilitator, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Peer and Trauma Support Systems)  

To add your name/ organisation as a signatory in support of the statement, please email your details to:

Profile of an Inspirational PeerPeer Stories

Monthly profile of an inspirational Peer: Jeanette

Jeanette was in her final year of University in 2011. She was studying for a degree in Economics in Kampala and living with her family. During the last semester, as the pressure of her final exams was beginning to grow, Jeanette’s family started to notice that she was talking a lot and making funny comments about people. She was not making sense. This was very out of character for Jeanette, and her family became concerned. Jeanette herself felt very excited and energetic about life. She knew her exams were soon approaching, but instead of attending classes, she began to spend all day walking aimlessly, she couldn’t concentrate, in fact she was barely eating as she was so distracted.

As the weeks quickly passed, Jeanette soon realised that there was not enough time to study and she began to fear that she would not pass her exams. This led Jeanette to feel very stressed and anxious. So much so, she started crying and at times this could last all night. She was hardly sleeping. Her family became even more concerned. Her mood appeared to be swinging from one extreme to the other. At times she would feel powerful, she thought she would graduate soon. Other times she feared the exams and cried.

Throughout this time, Jeanette’s classmates called her, to find out where she was. Sometimes she would pick up, and say she was coming, but she knew this was a lie. Then Jeanette lost her phone.

As the weeks past, Jeanette’s family tried their best to cope alone. They tried to keep Jeanette inside by locking the house. However, Jeanette found the key and was able to get out. She felt she had important things she needed to do, and at times would return late at night. The neighbours were talking about Jeanette, because they too had noticed the change in her behaviour. Some believed she was pretending she was sick to avoid the exams. After four weeks, Jeanette’s father decided it was time to seek help. He said, “Jeanette, let’s go to see the doctor”. Jeanette agreed. She knew something was not right, but she didn’t know what.

At first, Jeanette spent 3 days at a nearby clinic. After having numerous tests, such as for malaria and finding nothing, the doctors advised her father to take her to Butabika, the National Psychiatry Referral Hospital. Jeanette’s father was receptive to this and brought Jeanette to the outpatient department. At Butabika, the doctors realised that Jeanette’s symptoms, of talkativeness, lack of sleep and personal neglect may all be symptoms of a mental health condition, called bipolar disorder. They told her father that Jeanette needed to have an injection and be admitted.  Jeanette’s sister was not allowed to stay with her, and Jeanette felt scared when she arrived on the ward.

Jeanette spent 3 weeks in hospital. This was a challenging time, being separated from her family. She began to receive tablet medication. These medications reduced the symptoms, but led to feeling drowsy, and sleeping all day. During this time, Jeanette’s family visited regularly and one day they were able to take Jeanette home, provided she continued her medication and came back for review.

Although Jeanette now had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and was prescribed medication, the next five years of her life was interrupted by relapses and readmissions to hospital. Although she was able to complete her degree, she wasn’t able to progress further with her career. Jeanette denied her situation and refused to believe she needed medication. During this time, Jeanette would throw her medication away, and not come for her reviews. Even when she had money for transport, she would stop on the way. Jeanette’s family believed she was taking treatment and did not understand why she so frequently felt depressed, or overly energetic, or at times both.

In 2016, Jeanette was admitted to hospital and staying in the female recovery ward, when somebody approached her and asked her name. Jeanette was surprised when Angela introduced herself as a peer support worker. She had never heard of peer support before. Angela spoke to Jeanette for some time, she explained that she too had bipolar disorder, and offered to visit her at home.

From this point, Jeanette began to meet Angela every month. During these visits, Angela shared her story and experience of recovery. Through these meetings, Jeanette began to realise that she wasn’t alone. Angela had experienced challenges too, but she was still strong. This was life changing. Jeanette began to accept her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She realised her first episode at University was triggered by pressure to succeed in exams, and the feeling of missing support from her mother, who had passed away two years before. Looking back, Jeanette could see that she had not been able to grieve her mother’s death, instead feeling she had to stay strong for her family.

With this new understanding, Jeanette regretted the time she had wasted. She came to see that mental illness is like any other sickness. You can live with it usefully, without it being a hindrance to your success. From this point on, Jeanette began to take her medication. It took some time to see the benefit, but Jeanette believed that as it had worked for Angela, it would work for her.

Following this, Jeanette’s relapses decreased. In fact, she began to work as a peer support worker herself. This allowed her to offer the same support to others that she had received. She recalls one peer she supported. At first, she struggled to find him. Then, with the help of the LC chairman, she found him at his house, tired and sickly. Then Jeanette met the peer’s mother, who was rude, and did not accept her son was ill. However, with the help of the community outreach team from Butabika Hospital, Jeanette was able to sensitise the family to mental health problems, and transport was arranged for the peer to receive treatment in hospital. In the end, the mother was grateful, and this gave Jeanette the courage to continue her work. Now, after many years, Jeanette can see how vital peer support is. Her story is a powerful tool to share with people. Through peer support, people can begin to believe in themselves and build a structure to their lives that supports recovery.

Jeanette now believes the main problem is people hiding their challenges, instead of opening out and sharing. The tragedy is, people live with sickness, even though treatment is available. This is because of the stigma in society towards mental illness. How society treats people with mental illness affects how they think of themselves. Jeanette hopes for a future where there is more funding for mental health services and peer support in Uganda.

West Uganda Mental Health Service Improvement Project (WUMH) - Peer NationPeer Stories

Monthly profile of an inspirational Peer, Jane’s Story

Monthly profile of an inspirational Peer

Jane – Uganda’s first peer support worker for mental health

In her early life, Jane followed a calling to become a religious nun, taking up her training after completing her secondary education. It was 1978, when, only days away from taking her final vows, Jane became unwell.

Jane was observed by her religious sisters to be moving from one place to another, with no purpose. She slept little. She was talking things that were not combined. It was so concerning that Jane was taken to Mulago Hospital, where she was referred to Butabika.

Jane stayed in Butabika for 6 weeks. Unfortunately, shortly after her discharge, she relapsed and was readmitted to hospital. Her mental health problems, diagnosed as bipolar disorder, had interrupted her training and her dream of becoming a nun would no longer be possible.

Jane moved back to her family home where she stayed with her parents. Although she felt very bad that she could not become a nun, she reconciled herself, saying “many are called, but few are chosen”. Next, Jane set her sights on building her own family. She prayed to find a husband, and after 4 years her prayers were answered.

Jane remembers she was walking to church with her brother when she heard somebody approaching her. This person touched her back, and when she turned around it was a man who said, “I want you to become my wife”. Jane has always been open about her mental health challenges. She said to him she is a patient of Butabika Hospital. This was not a problem as her husband-to-be believed mental illness could be treated. Jane felt accepted by him.

A short while after their introduction ceremony, Jane had her third relapse. This was her last. Since then, she has enjoyed a happy family life with her husband, children and grandchildren. Indeed, a number of years later, Jane began working as a seamstress at Butabika Hospital. With her own lived experience, Jane could see that patients at Butabika needed support from someone with a similar sickness.

So, Jane started to talk to patients and their families at the outpatient department and occupational therapy department. She did this voluntarily, alongside her work as a seamstress. Jane used her own personal experience to support her peers – talking about her recovery, taking medication and the importance being self-reliant, earning money and staying occupied. Jane also promoted self-acceptance – a key part of recovery. Jane was motivated by the gratitude of patients and their families. She could see her work was really making a difference.

For the first few years, Jane worked independently. She had no formal training and was not paid. From 2004 onwards, she began receiving support from clinicians at the occupational therapy department. Then, in 2012, she was given training alongside others as part of a funded programme. This programme helped her to support peers in different ways, from the ward to their homes. Although this presented some challenges, including managing the expectations of her clients, it didn’t stop Jane. She continues to work as a peer support worker today. In fact, some of those she supported are now peer support workers themselves. Others are married and have children and are enjoying life in recovery. She is rightly proud of this achievement

Jane has now been 36 years without a relapse, 20 of which she has spent supporting her peers. She believes her peer support role has helped her maintain her own recovery – through providing employment and a sense of purpose. She has even been featured on a national TV programme with the Director of Butabika Hospital.

Jane has been open about her mental health challenges from the beginning. She says “For me I don’t hide my sickness. People see me – they say, are you the one with the mental illness? I reply, Yes, I am. I am on treatment and I am in recovery”.

This way, Jane fights mental health stigma in the community and wherever she is. So many people have benefited from her advice, support and wisdom. Jane can be considered Uganda’s first peer support worker for mental health. Now, she is a member of Peer Nation, a service-user led organisation. Being part of Peer Nation gives Jane the opportunity to spend time with and support her peers, as well as contributing to projects such as the monthly outreach programme with the community psychiatric nurses.

Jane has a few key pieces of advice for recovery that she wishes to share:

  • Mental illness can be treated and recovery is possible
  • Accept yourself for the way you are
  • Follow the advice of doctors
  • Seek employment, so you are useful and have independence
  • If something has stressed you, tell somebody, don’t keep it in your heart as this may cause relapse
  • Be hopeful
  • Fight stigma

She also wants to thank her husband, her children and other family members who have supported her, her benefactor and his family, the staff at Butabika who have loved her and not stigmatised her, members of the community who have supported her work as a tailor, and her fellow peer support workers.

After so many years of hard work, mostly voluntary and unpaid, you might think Jane is considering retirement. This is not the case. She says, “If I am able, I will continue”. Although she was not able to fulfil her youthful ambition to be a nun, Jane has followed a different calling in life – supporting those with similar challenges to herself and fighting mental health stigma every day.

Jane is also a tailor of Gomesi and school uniform. If you would like to support Jane through her tailing, please contact Peer Nation and we will share her contacts.

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