COVID-19-Related Mental Health Burden and Reduced Awareness of Mental Healthcare Services in Low Income Earners of Western Uganda

The imposed COVID-19 lockdown is taking a toll on mental health individuals, with lowincome earners considered most affected, as the imposed lockdown was accompanied with partial or complete loss of livelihood among low income earners. The study aimed to investigate level of education and relationship status on awareness of mental healthcare and explore how these factors influence mental health among low income earners in Western Uganda. A cross sectional descriptive study was undertaken among low-income earners in South Western Uganda. Data were collected from two hundred and fifty-three (253) participants using a structured closed ended questionnaire. Anxiety, anger and depression were assessed using a modified generalized anxiety disorder (GAD-7), Spielberger’s State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) item tools respectively. Most respondents were single male individuals with secondary level of education. Respondents with tertiary level of education and those with partners had higher score (71.7% and 70.28% respectively) for awareness on mental healthcare. Respondents with primary education level and individuals that were single had higher score (46.98% and 43.72% respectively) for anxiety. Respondents with primary education level and those living with partners had higher mean score (56.44% and 56.21% respectively) for anger. Respondents with no formal education and those who had lost partners had higher mean score (32.11% and 30.50% respectively) for depression. Individuals without formal educational and primary education were observed to have a negative correlation (r2 = 47.4 and 6.4% respectively) with awareness on mental healthcare, and the no formal group had positive correlation with anger and depression (r2 =1.9 and 0.3% respectively), while other groups were negatively correlated (r2 =10.1%). The group of single individuals had a negative correlation with awareness on mental healthcare, anger and depression (r2 =1.9, 0.8 and 0.3% respectively), and a positive correlation with anxiety (r2 =3.9%). It is evident that education and relationship status influence awareness on mental healthcare and mental health state among low income earners in Western Uganda. Therefore, we suggest policy maker pay more attention to social transformation, through proper engagement of low income earners.
Mental healthcare, awareness, relationship status, educational level, COVID-19, Low-income earners, Western Uganda
Lemuel, A. M., Usman, I. M., Kasozi, K. I., Aigbogun Jr, E. O., Bassey, V. A., Ifie, J., ... & Welburn, S. C. (2020). COVID-19-related mental health burden and reduced awareness of mental healthcare services in low income earners of Western Uganda.