Background: The imposed COVID-19 lockdown is taking a toll mental health, with low-income earners considered particularly affected. 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.
Methods: 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.
Result: Most respondents were single male individuals with secondary level. 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%).
Conclusion: 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 advocate for new approaches in mental healthcare awareness programs equipped with robust strategy, which will focus on improving optimal mental health among these set of people.