Atukunda Joseph

Patient Leader

Am the Coordinator and Founder of Heartsounds Uganda. Heartsounds Uganda is a community based organization dully registered with Kampala City Council Authority. Its an organization of mental health service uses for the users and by the users. Our core activity is peer support which is a much need psychosocial support for mental health recovery. We carried out a program in partnership with our national referral hospital, Butabika hospital where the hospital referred to us newly discharged mental patients and we offered them peer support during the sensitive time when they have just returned to the community. The program is called Brain Gain and was funded by DFID through THET and the Butabika Link. We have another program funded by DRF to train our members in the CRPD and Advocacy, another funded by OSIEA to form community peer support groups in the suburbs of Kampala another program called Beautiful Minds funded by Storm Fund for creative Arts for recovery. I have strongly advocated wherever I can that mental Health service users are experts by experience in mental health and can support each other as well as advise the service providers on developing better practices. I got a Commonwealth professional fellowship and spent three months in the UK Sept. to Dec 2012 to observe good practices, peer support and other recovery led services in the UK as well as share the Ugandan perspective. I have just been back to the UK, 1st to 16th Nov. 2013 to attend a Clinical psychologists' trainers conference organized by Lancaster university and we are planning with Lancaster university to introduce a program in our Makerere university to have mental health service users go to the lecture rooms of the clinical psychologist trainees and share their stories and perspective to make the training sessions better and more practical as its done in Lancaster University. We now have a membership of 150 service users around Kampala and Heartsounds Uganda is run and managed by service users in recovery


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Your enthusiasm and strong commitment to support others in mental distress and support a more compassionate response to needs

As a person who recovered from a mental illness, Joseph is a great example for many people, with or without a psychosocial disabilities. He is a passionate coordinator and advocate for the rights of his peers. He knows how to speak and attract attention for his cause and is able to think out of the box, 'crazy ideas'. Joseph spends 7days/24 hours on Heartsounds Uganda and this peers support and resource project is inspiring lots of people in Uganda and far behind. Joseph shares his ideas, pictures and experiences on Facebook almost everyday and never forgets to support others or react on questions and comments. He knows how to use social media.  — Roos

Joseph has been working so hard to promote mental illness awareness within the youthful community of Uganda where resources are so scarse and conditions often dire.  — Frank

the lad has put too much effort into something he started and this is rapidly spreading very first in Ugandan communities who have always believed that mental health related illnesses are as a result of bad spells by others or voodoo on to others. also that his peer group aims at helping and giving support to service users through recovery journeys is of greater importance. I agree with him when he says that service users will be brought to clinical psychiatry nurse training lecture rooms so as to be able to tell there story as they are the experts in there stories,something which produces reality on table to psychiatric students and opens them up, this is what is done at the London south bank university to which am happily part of .  — jamil peterson

He inspired me into joining Heart Sounds Uganda and i really discovered the talent i had long ignored of helping others.  — edema

He is so passionate about mental health and he does a great job raising awareness on facebook.  — Barbara

For turning a weakness into a strength and using it to change his community and support those who are still where he was as a patient and thus making their recovery much more smoother than his was. He is giving hope to the hopeless.  — Adyeri

For his courage not to give up against all odds  — Gary

I consider the excellent work of Heart Sounds, the organisation that Joseph founded should be recognised for its impact on the lives and recovery of so many people from mental ill-health through peer support  — Anthony

Joseph started heart sounds and many other projects to help people with various mental disabilities e.g. bipolar etc. This has helped them build their self esteem and confidence. In addition, they have learnt vocational and life skills that have improved their livelihoods, incomes and status in society. He started as a young man and used his own when initiating the project, today, i must say it is a full fledged programme with increasing members who are better persons. he has also been resourceful to the community. Please read more on

he deserves it through experience  — ivan

He is been a great advocate for the mentally challenged people and has played a consummate role in uniting them despite their diverse needs  — Samuel

Joseph is one of the founders of Heart Sounds in Uganda. He has helped raise awareness on mental health and has provided a community centre for people in the society that are recovering or have recovered from mental illness. This has created a sense of belonging for those people recovering from mental illness and reduced the stigma associated with mental illness in the community.  — Sheila

He has used facebook to create mental health awareness within and outside Heartsounds, Uganda.  — Odoki

Atukunda Joseph

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