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The role of religion in suicide prevention work in Uganda 

The role of religion in suicide prevention work in Uganda
The role of religion in suicide prevention work in Uganda

Emilio Ovuga

and Jed Boardman

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date: 05 July 2022

Central themes of traditional religious practice in Uganda have been the role of a creator, an understanding of life in an integral sense and maintenance of contact with the spirit world. Christianity was introduced to Uganda at the end of the nineteenth century and was associated with the colonial powers. Subsequent expressions of religious beliefs juxtaposed traditional and European beliefs. Present expressions of cosmology in everyday life mainly involve a strong sense of the collective and its responsibility, breakdown of which, and the subsequent loss of cohesion, plays a central role in suicide. Suicide has usually been seen as an uncommon occurrence in Uganda, but recent research suggests that this is no longer the case. The rise in suicide may be the result of substantial social changes and long-term strife affecting the population. Associated with this have been examples of mass suicide and internal wars, which have resulted in mass killings which may have their roots in traditional and non-traditional religious beliefs. An understanding and knowledge of the traditional world view of Ugandans may be helpful in developing strategies for the management and prevention of suicide in Uganda.

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