Strong Families Help Improve Mental Health of Young Girls in Uganda, New Study Shows

UGANDA – A recent study in southern Uganda, done by the International Center for Child Health and Development (ICHAD), shows that when families are united and communicate well, young girls have better mental health. This is especially important for girls who face challenges like being poor or having HIV/AIDS. Experts like Dr. Fred M. Ssewamala and Dr. Leyla Karimli led this study.

The study found that when families are close and talk openly, it helps young girls feel more hopeful and less depressed. The research took two years and looked at 1,260 girls aged 14 to 17. The girls were divided into three groups: one group was just observed, the second group took part in a program called Youth Development Account (YDA), and the third group combined YDA with family group sessions.

Dr. Leyla Karimli said that understanding how poverty, family life, and mental health are connected is very important. Strong families and programs that help reduce poverty can make the future brighter for young people in Africa.

The study found that when families are united, talk openly, and parents are involved daily, it helps young girls be mentally stronger. But, families that struggle to find resources can have communication problems, which is bad for the young girls’ mental health.

In sub-Saharan Africa, almost a quarter of the young people face mental health challenges because of reasons like poverty, violence, and gender differences. In Uganda, about 23.6% of young people feel depressed.

This study shows that poverty affects both how a family works together and the mental health of young people. Programs like YDA, which help families get more resources, can improve family talks and reduce stress for parents.

This study’s results are very important for people who make policies and healthcare workers. If we combine programs that reduce poverty with family support, we can greatly improve the mental health of young people. This will help make the next generation in Africa stronger and healthier.

If you want to read the full study, it’s called “Combining Asset Accumulation and Multifamily Group Intervention to Improve Mental Health for Adolescent Girls: A Cluster-Randomized Trial in Uganda,” and you can find it on the publisher’s website: