Mental health expert with St John of odd Mdumanene Silungwe, has ranked poverty as one of the top most causes of mental illnesses in Malawi and the world as a whole.
In an interview, Silungwe said most people who are in acute poverty usually have stress and anxiety which makes one prone to mental illness.
“People must not think that mental illness comes when one smokes Chamba or is born with it. Sometimes, being stressed and thinking very much about a situation like poverty may lead someone to mental illness,” he said.
Against this background, authorities at St John of God have implemented an intervention called Jovwila, a project that is aimed at bailing out people from poverty.
The project, which has since been launched in some parts of Mzimba north, is expected to help people become financially stable.
According to director of services for St John of God, Charles Masulani, under the project, people will be equipped with skills on how to manage finances on their own.
“We want to empower people, so that poverty is lessened in the country. The project has already been launched in some parts of Mzimba north and we are aiming at reaching out to many people,” he said.
He added that: “It is important for us to prevent some of the causes of mental illnesses than waiting to treat people affected by the causes.”
Apart from Jovwila, St John of God is also empowering a lot of youths across Mzuzu city by equipping them with various entrepreneurship skills.
The organization is training idle youths in carpentry, phone and computer repairing and other skills that will enable the youths to employ themselves.