As one way of increasing primary health care for mental health in the country, Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has trained 20 caregivers from five areas of Traditional Authority Mlumbe in Zomba where the organisation is implementing a mental health project.
The two day training was aimed at building capacity of community based structures to support people with mental illness as they face numerous challenges in their everyday life.
Speaking during the training, YONECO’s Community Mobilisation Officer Jacob Nyirongo observed that in adequate knowledge on mental health is a serious social concern in as far as provision of care to mental illness persons is concerned in the country.
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According to Nyirongo, a lot of people are suffering from the disease but access to primary health care is a big challenge due to issues of stigma.
“Stigma is a major obstacle for patients seeking mental health care hence this training targeted community caregivers to impart them with knowledge so that they can effectively respond to the mental health needs in their communities,” explained Nyirongo.
Speaking on behalf of his fellow 20 caregivers, James Usale from Chipini thanked YONECO for the training saying it has broaden their knowledge on how to care and help people with mental illness.
Said Usale: “Through this training we have realised that as community care groups we have not performed well in assisting people with mental illness because of knowledge gap about mental health.”
Usale added that after the training the care groups have developed an action plan that will help to promote mental health in their respective areas.
One of the trained ToT on mental health who was also a facilitator Kondwani Kazembe challenged the participants to integrate mental health care to their routine work and raise more awareness on the disease as one way of promoting primary health care.
YONECO partnered with Zomba Mental Hospital and Tackle Africa to implement the project dubbed as “Passing and supporting: building tactics for community mental health care”which aims promote the wellbeing of people with mental disorder.