In a bid to promote mental health awareness and the importance of a healthy mental being, Caring Hands Center Limited partnered Lifest Malawi with activities towards enhancing mental health education when the two organizations offered mental health awareness content and support to individuals during Lilongwe Music Festival.
Mental health is one of the most pressing concerns for public healthcare systems worldwide, with studies showing it as the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality rates.
Country Director for Caring Hands Center Limited Christine Mhone said her organization thought it wise to offer mental health awareness content and support to individuals who would not come out in the open to discuss their problems.
“We were providing sensitization information to victims of mental health, gender based violence and stigma. We also provided counseling sessions at our booth during the festival through our mental health experts that were on the ground throughout the festival,” she said.
She further revealed that during the festival, the two organizations dealt with serious cases of mental health that have been overlooked by the society.
“We dealt with serious cases of mental health that have been overlooked mostly because the victims did not know what to do, they did not know where to seek help, they had fear of opening up to anyone about their issues and some did not understand that what they were going through was mental health of GBV.
“The other crucial thing was that most people are afraid to seek help because of stigma that comes from society once one is associated with mental health. For example, the fear of cyber bullying after the issue goes viral. Some of the effects include; stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, partying too much than usual and suicide thoughts plus many more,” she expounded.
Mhone added that from what she observed through the festival, the majority of Malawians had no idea of what mental issues are hence turning the sensitization sessions into counseling sessions.
“To our surprise, we had more people coming to find out more about mental health services. After sensitization sessions on basic understanding of mental health, 99% of the sessions turned into counseling sessions because people would come to our booth without understanding what mental health is, with the aim of getting more information, then they would realize that they have been going through mental health or GBV without actually realizing it,” she explained.
With the experience gathered from the sensitization sessions, Mhone has further advised the society to do more in terms of having more mental health awareness campaigns to reach out to victims and would be victims.
“This proves to us that there is more need for mental health awareness in the country,” she said.
“In future, we would like to partner with more like-minded institutions and experts to further mental health service provision,” she concluded.
Caring Hands Center was established to promote mental health awareness and the importance of a health mental wellbeing by promoting a society in which everyone can benefit from good mental health.
Mental health is one of the most pressing concerns for public healthcare systems worldwide. Studies have identified mental illnesses as the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality.
COVID-19 has exacerbated cases of mental health. For example in Malawi, extreme cases of mental health like Suicide cases increased by 57 percent in 2020 as a result of loss of hope in dealing with problems resulting from Covid-19
The police recorded that in 2020 records from various police stations show that in 2019 during this period, 116 people killed themselves while in year, 2020, a total of 182 people have killed themselves. Looking at the trajectory the figures are likely to go higher in 2021.
In addition, men are killing themselves more than women, because out of these figures mentioned, 92% of people who committed suicide are men while the remaining 8% are women.