A majority of the young Ugandan population has gone through traumatic experiences that challenge its coping abilities and strength to resist external shocks. Due to the range of cultural limitations around the issues of mental health, the relevance of sport across a range of mental health problems, and the underlying stigma often associated with it, APPCO focuses on promoting the use of sports-based approaches that support wellbeing, improve functioning and reduce distress resulting from trauma and stigma. In addressing health challenges, our interventions focus on promoting access to health and promoting proper nutrition among households for prolonged healthy living.

Our Major Interventions

Strengthening Social Support Networks and self-esteem development.

This is a person’s confidence in their worth or abilities. Another important component of well-being, our research suggests that physical activity can boost self-esteem by giving participants the sense that they had achieved something through participation. Improving skills can give participants a sense of mastery, and improved perceptions of their competence, physical skills, and body image. Interaction with peer networks through play is one of the approaches APPCO employs in promoting mental fitness among young people.

The play has been an instrumental approach in empowering young people in their communities to use sports and physical activities like dramas, music, dances, and debate to challenge the stigma associated with mental health in northern Uganda.

Addressing Stigma

There is a recognition that sport is likely to be highly acceptable, non-stigmatizing, and the route to improved mental health. therefore, at APPCO we consider the role of sport in improving well-being where stigma is present. This is because while in some contexts a medical diagnostic label can be valuable to someone, for example in helping someone to find a community with shared experiences, in places where there is still a high stigma around mental health problems this is much less likely to be true.

Strengthening community sports structures for improved mental health;

this is a three-year project geared toward Action for mental Health and Recovery: Working with the Northern Uganda psychiatric unit in the regional referral hospital in Gulu to establish a mental health recovery community-based outreach model. We have trained 55 health workers on psychiatric clinic support in 12 health centres and identified and trained 120 community support structures to monitor mental health drug adherence and counselling.

Health Education and HIV/AIDS:

Our aim is to address the challenges of improving health education in rural, conflict-affected, and underserved communities by working within the existing health framework to establish and promote health education programs that will provide rapid and long-term capacity-building and access to health care to improve health and quality of life and will give children, mothers, and communities more control over their health status.

Our Major Achievements

Appco in the past years has conducted over 100 Community Health outreaches and screenings throughout the communities it operates.