Police say the 21-year-old American national, who was found dead in a hostel in Entebbe, was on treatment for depression.
The body of James Larkin Crow, a resident of Texas in the U.S.A was on Thursday morning found hanging from the staircase rail leading up to the entrance of the hostel building located at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
“Close friends and relatives to the deceased told the detectives that he was depressed and was on medication which confirmed the school records that indicated the child had some anger issues related to his parents’ divorce two years back,” reads part of the statement by Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire.
The police spokesperson added that a suicide case has been opened up at Entebbe Police Station vide CRB 1086/2018.
Crow reportedly had a history of depression and taking drugs, and that he took a lot of alcohol on the eve of his death.
Whisper Eye, an online publication, reported yesterday that the deceased’s parents allowed him to stay in Uganda and train as a volunteer animal caretaker because he was living a solitary life while in the US.
When asked about the claims, the assistant CID officer at Entebbe Police Station, Mr Richard Anvuko, said: “We are still receiving information to clarify and back up those claims of alcoholism and depression.”
UWEC spokesperson Isaac Mujaasi said the deceased was in a jovial mood and shared light moments with a friend in the centre’s restaurant on the eve of his death.
“We left [the restaurant] and he also left for his room until [yesterday] when we found him hanging; it is possible that he might have hanged himself in the night,” he said. The body was taken to Mulago hospital for autopsy.
Key facts about depression
Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected, according to World Health Organisation (WHO). Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition.
It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.
Although there are known, effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world (in many countries, fewer than 10 perecnt) receive such treatments. Barriers to effective care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health-care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders. Another barrier to effective care is inaccurate assessment. In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.
The burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise globally. A World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at country level.