Mwebaze Isharaza (Ishe) shares the story of a personal addiction struggle of over 20 years. During this season of his life, he lost his relationships, status, and work and faced a lot of stigmas.
From his addiction, Ishe grew a passion for working with youth struggling with mental health as well as substance use disorders(SUDs).
He is now certified Addiction care and Treatment Specialist, Counselor, and Recovery coach and also the Chairman of the Addiction Prevention and Rehabilitation Association of Uganda.
He is also the co-founder of the Africa Retreat Centre which provides specialized treatment for Mental Health and Addiction.
Ishe’s unique story was featured in season 2 episode 2 of the Africa Health Check show that aired on the 19th of May at 1800Hrs CAT in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
He recounts how bleak his life was during his addiction and how he nearly got to the brink before accepting help. This is the story of many dealing with SUDs not only in Africa but globally.
According to Mental health statistics 2022, 13% of the world’s population are affected by Mental health and substance use disorders. That number could be higher as people adjust to a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many people do not see addiction as an illness. They see it as a moral failure. And so society is very quick to judge when somebody’s struggling with addiction. They see the person as somebody who has failed, who is immoral, who is morally questionable. And so with that comes a lot of trauma, and there’s a lot of stigma around addiction.” said Ishe.