KIU, Main Campus – As Uganda commences it's second week of lockdown, the Professor of Counseling and Psychology at Kampala International University, Edward Bantu holds that the officers enforcing these security directives will most probably meet resistance and violent reactions from public which could trigger mental illness on their part.
"Some of these officers are already in a state of mental instability due to already existing problems including stress, fear of the pandemic, panic, shock, being afraid of catching the disease, and even stress from relatives including family," Professor Bantu said.
Furthermore, the professor shared that judging by the Bantubaguma Information Motivation and Behavioural Change Model, individuals who lack correct information can be motivated by providing right information directed to behavioural change, and by appealing to their faulty cognition.
"Officers are at a higher risk given the contagious nature of COVID-19 pandemic. The law enforcement culture of the officers being bravely committed combined with their hard personality to occupational demands may lead to mental breakdown," he said.
He added that the police force will have to implement the Bantubaguma Information Motivation and Behavioural Change Model, team of experts who will have to perform by being strategic, practical, and tactical to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Information is power," he said while stating three facts about COVID-19:
• It is very contagious.
• It is characterized by asymptomatic transmissions
• It has a short serval interval (4days): meaning that the time it takes for symptoms to appear between the person who infects and the infected is approximately four days.
Prof. Bantu offers that mental wellness plays a critical role in the overall well-being of officers, significantly affecting both productivity and performance, and therefore different strategies may need to be employed to help cope with occupational pressure.
He advised that the methods that should be adopted to reduce the stigma on mental health issues should include strategies to encourage officers to come forward to seek help when necessary, in the form of wellness coaching.