Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) says misconceptions regarding mental health problems is one of the biggest issues contributing to its escalations in the country.
YONECO Executive Director MacBain Mkandawire told YFM that many people draw conclusions that everybody developing mental problem is permanently mentally challenged not knowing that other issues are to do with anxiety or depression.
He was speaking at Thondwe in Zomba on the sidelines of a two day training workshop for 20 caregivers.
He said cases of mental health can be treated if diagnosed in their early stages.
Mkandawire added that people developing mental disorders are discriminated by their own community which affects the person’s conditions.
During the workshop it was noted that marriage break ups, unemployment and excessive use of drugs and substances especially among the youths are the main factors that cause rise to the problem.
“I think what is lacking in this country is support mechanism like counseling services are very limited. So I think we need adequate counselors, community based counselors who will be able to support the people when they are affected by these many social challenges that are there.”
“So for example when marriage has broken down there should be community based counselors to deal with the situation,” Mkandawire said.
In his remarks Willy Mwamadi, a senior Health Surveillance Assistant at Mwandama Health Centre commended the project saying it has brought positive impact in the community.
He said cases of mental health have significantly been reduced since the project started in the area in January 2018.
Mwamadi singled out pregnant women and the youths as the most vulnerable groups.
“Yes the disease can be treated, and from the moment we intensified the awareness there has been reduction to the cases of mental problems as many people were able to come to the health centre for treatment. I know about 4 people who had mental problem but now they are fine and able to socialize well with others while doing their jobs independently,” said Mwamadi.
One of the participants, Aubrey Richard thanked YONECO saying the training has equipped him on how best to deal with the people developing the problem.
YONECO is working in partnership with Zomba Central Hospital, Zomba Mental Hospital and Tackle Africa with funding from COMIC Relief.
The organization is implementing similar a project in Lilongwe and Nkhota-kota.