A Nation in Need

UM graduate student Hugo Lungu came to Montana from Tanzania in 2015.

A Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Songea, he has devoted his life in service to his faith and his community. In his ministry work in Tanzania, he saw a pressing need for mental healthcare among his constituents, neighbors and friends.

“As human beings, all of us share mental health issues,” he says. “We have schizophrenia, depression, and so forth. All these, we have them over there in Tanzania, but we don’t know what they are, and what the effects are.”

He felt called to help. He decided to pursue a graduate degree, first in counseling psychology in Seattle, and then in counselor education and supervision here at UM.

UM’s counselor education program, based in the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, trains counselors to serve in all kinds of clinical settings. The program also trains those who will become counselor educators themselves, which is Lungu’s goal.

“In Tanzania we don’t have enough mental health counseling,” he says. “When I graduate, the plan is to go there and teach.”

The nation is woefully under-served by mental health professionals. Per a 2009 study, at that time the country had only 18 psychiatrists, two psychologists and eight mental health social workers for 40 million people. There is one state-run mental health hospital, and a handful of other in-patient mental health centers. Only one university trains psychiatrists and psychologists.

His UM education will not only help Lungo deepen his understanding of the field, but also serve a desperate and pressing need.

He credits generous donors with helping him complete his degree. He received two EdReady Graduate Scholarships and the Tough Kids Cool Counseling Scholarship.

“Without these scholarships, it would be so hard for me to finish school.”

He recognizes that his education is much bigger than himself – that he can train other counselors, who will provide services to hundreds of people.

“Scholarship donors have not only supported me, but have supported the entire country. Through me, you have helped Tanzania.”