Mental Health: Malawi secondary school students urged to speak out

…expert says depression is a silent crisis


Mental health expert Lusubilo Derby has challenged Mkwichi Secondary school students in Lilongwe to normalize talking about situations they are going through saying it is sad that many young people have resorted to suicide over issues that could be solved if they could speak out.

Speaking on Friday during the let’s talk program organized by student teachers from Malawi Assemblies of God University (MAGU), Derby said she is aware that students also go through challenging situations ranging from personal to academic trauma.

Mkwichi students

Derby who is also the founder of a mental health foundation called Nictus Institute said depression of the adolescent youth is neglected but it is a silent crisis that is fueling suicide and it is something that needs an urgent action.

“Students face several challenges but they rarely talk about them, so we came to share some few experiences and understand why they don’t talk about those challenges.

“Based on our 2020 research, Suicide cases are on the increase in this country because young people are bottling up information. They meet more pressing situations in their families, failing in class, some have long term diseases that they cannot speak about thus they end up cutting their lives shot,” she said.

However, she added that peer pressure is also contributing to depression and suicide because they cannot fit up into the clubs they want to and further urged the students to be able to seek advice from their trusted elders and teachers.

One of the organizers of the event, a student teacher at Mkwichi, Gloria Matekenya said they targeted form one students in order for them to realize the importance of sharing challenges they are facing before coming up with bad decisions.

Matekenya said ills of mental health need to be discussed at all levels and as a teacher, she tries her best to make sure that students are open and free to share their problems with her for possible solutions.

In his remarks, Malawi Assemblies of God Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr. David Nkhoma advised the students to spare their lives even if they face a challenge saying life has a lot of good things in store for them.

Nkhoma encouraged the students to focus on their academic endeavors if their dreams are to come true and they should not forget prayers in the equation.

Mkwichi Secondary School Head Teacher Florence Mulima expressed gratitude saying the students really needed mind changing lessons for them to start seeing life in a different perspective.

She said mental health awareness can be a solution to many challenges that the students are facing on a daily basis.