The World Health Organization (WHO) has tipped Malawi on strategies it can use to improve mental health and reduce suicide cases.
The WHO representative to Malawi Dr Nonhlanhla Rosemary Dlamini shared the tips at the commemoration of the world mental health day in Dowa.
The world mental health day falls on 10 October every year and this year’s theme is focusing on suicide prevention.
Dlamini said governments can facilitate multisectoral collaboration, including limiting access to pesticides, firearms and certain medications and strengthening policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
In addition , the health sector can train non-specialized workers to assess and manage suicidal behaviour, to identify, treat and care for people with mental and substance use disorders, chronic pain and acute emotional distress, and improve follow-up care for people who have attempted suicide;
Another approach which she suggested was the implementation of school based interventions that can offer mental health support for adolescents.
In his remarks Principal Secretary in the ministry of health Dr Dan Namarika said poverty, depression, alcohol and drug abuse are some of the contributing factors to suicide in Malawi.
Namarika said currently they are reviewing the mental health policy as a way of curbing suicide cases in the country.
Namarika said the ministry has established that alcohol abuse is one of the major contributing factors to suicide cases.
Namarika said it is hightime they worked with councils to implement and enforce contents of the alcohol policy.
He said there is need for councils to ensure that they set by laws for alcohol selling points and that age limit for intake of alcohol is enforced.
Globally, every 40 seconds, a life is lost to suicide.