Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA) has introduced community mental health forum (CMHF) to raise awareness on mental health problems in Ntcheu district.
Speaking with Malawi24, mental health project coordinator Japhet Myaba said they invited different stakeholders including district sector heads to come up with community mental health forum (CMHF) with an aim of increasing awareness on mental problems.
“As MACOHA we are looking at things to do with symptoms, prevalence as well as community care that can reduce such mental illness within Ntcheu district,” he said.
Myaba added that there is need to raise awareness to integrate those people who have mental illness or those that have just recovered within the communities after realizing their problems.
“Building relationship between mental health professionals and community can assist in reducing the number of mental cases in the hospital,” Myaba said.
He pointed out that the project is also addressing the issues of misconceptions and myths that are fueling the mental health problems because these are the things which make people to stigmatise and discriminate against persons with mental problems.
MACOHA through the community health mental project is doing a number of different activities as a one way of combating stigma, myths, and misconceptions within the communities through providing perfect information and civic education.
One of the Herbalists who attended the training, Mohammed Jafali Msamala, appreciated the training opportunity.
“The forum has assisted a lot and has provided us with information on how best we can help mental health patients in the communities,” Msamala said.
Msamala, however, trashed comments from stakeholders that herbalists fuel misconceptions and myths on mental illness.
The stakeholders claimed that herbalists steal money from clients by threatening them that if they miss some procedures they will become insane.