Africa LGBTIQQ Emotional Health, Trauma & Suicide Counselling Support Services 2014-2024 (Mid-Term Report)
At MARPS in Uganda, we are confronted with demands, needs and the responsibility to address human rights, anti-violence, sexuality, identity and health issues.
Since 2014, we have been approached by LGBTIQQ experiencing various levels of anxiety and depression. This in turn was as a result of gender conforming curiosities; euphoria; dysphoria; traumatic grief; associative depressive disorders; anxiety disorders; associative depressive behaviours; and anxiety behaviours.
We were confronted with reactions ranging from: grief; bereavement; panic; lack of concentration; substance use/abuse; self medication; major depressive disorders; major depressive episodes; generalized anxiety; post traumatic stress disorder; suicide attempts; and suicide
We were there to recognize: apprehension, anxiety or grief and enabled our participants to go from: shock; denial/disbelief; anger; bargaining; despair/hopelessness; loss, grief, sadness; moving forward; acceptance; adjustment/ recovery/ integration; to reflection/ learning/ strength.
In the event of grief, we use cues and grief interventions that involve utterances or writing down a story and reading it back loudly. It is from this that we track at what stage of grieving one is. We encourage beneficiaries to verbalize their experiences. Below are some of the utterances or submissions we got from our beneficiaries. These enabled us employ necessary empathetic healing regard:
- Shock: I feel so defeated; I am lost; I shall never recover from this….
- Denial/disbelief: I cannot believe this happened to me; I am so young to deserve this; I am not supposed to be here; this is not fair…
- Anger: I do not want you talk to me again about that issue; why me?
- Bargaining: I prayed everyday; I sacrificed and helped others who were badly off; I did penance; I turned away from bad company…
- Despair/hopelessness: I can’t cope without smoking or alcohol; I cannot get over this..
- Loss/grief/sadness: I feel so lost; I don't want to be with anyone; I cannot sleep..
- Moving forward: This is who I am; this is part of who I am; I can be okay..
- Adjustment/ recovery/ integration: I feel empowered; this is my new self; I can see light at the end of the tunnel..
- Reflection/ learning/ strength: I feel so lucky and fortunate; I am in control; I am confident…
In case of any adversity, we explored: the seven healthy developmental needs; categories of being hurt; and coping experiences.
The seven healthy developmental needs included: holistic health needs e.g., shelter and food; relationship; positive sense of self; emotional intelligence; personal power; intelligence; character and virtue.
Categories of being hurt included the different causes of vulnerability: There is survivor vulnerability e.g. as a result of trauma, eviction, displacement or war; there is vulnerability due to rejection e.g. disowned by family or abandoned; vulnerability due to victimization e.g. being devalued, humiliated and of low self-esteem; love-starved vulnerability e.g. unkindness; vulnerability due to sabotage e.g. indisciplined, lack of limits; stunted-mind vulnerability e.g. lack of role models, averse to instructions; vulnerability related to betrayal e.g. not rewarded or recognized.
The following coping experiences or “protector act outs” were identified: smoking, food, harm and sex; defiance and tendencies for rebelliousness; use of alcohol and drugs; Acting out rebelliousness in domestic spaces to provoke reaction; virtual reality phase when one uses stimulants to distract one from reality; and the mutiny stage when one decides to go off the grid or drop off the radar as it were.
As we continue working with the LGBTIQQ, we hope we shall be supported in work. From 2014-2017, we have averted 250 suicide attempts. In case you need support contact us at: https://www.facebook.com/africacrisiscounsellingfoundation/; or https://www.facebook.com/Onlinetraumasupport/; or Whatsapp +14157079564.