Poet Tendai Shaba commits to fight mental health issues, engages health minister


Renowned poet, Tendai M Shaba has expressed commitment to supporting government’s efforts by fighting mental health issues through his poetry.

Shaba earlier this week engaged Malawi’s minister of health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda and among other things, the two discussed how the rising cases of mental health can be put to rest through poetry.

In an interview, Shaba said poets have the responsibility to encourage mental health conversations and develop more platforms where mental health assistance is easily accessible.

The mental health activist who said he once suffered from stress and anxiety, vowed to use his talent to bring hope amongst stressed Malawians, which he said may help in reducing mental health related deaths.

“Personally I struggled with anxiety at one point in my life. I was facing so much academic pressure, but I learned to control it at that time. I then decided to use my poetry to inspire and motivate people who are going through a lot of daily life struggles.

“I can only use my voice to inspire and motivate people. Mental health and the problems that come with it are beatable. We just need to find the courage to overcome daily life stresses, and God gives us courage. So, I am very much committed to helping fight mental health in Malawi and worldwide,” said Shaba.

He further articulated that he is hopeful that the battle against mental health problems and the stigma surrounding mental health, will one day be won saying efforts by government through the ministry of health give hope of positive future.

“The Minister is passionate about mental health awareness. The honourable minister acknowledges the problem and the situation on the ground that there is need for mental health wellness platforms accessible for all and this gives us hope,” he added.

On her part, Kandodo Chiponda said her ministry will come up with programs that will see people coming together and discuss how to deal with the mental health issues.

“It is important for us to observe the global mental health calendar and come up with unique programs on the ground to encourage mental health conversations. Our biggest challenge is breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and our biggest task is the prevention of suicide and substance abuse,” said Chiponda.

All this is coming on the sidelines of May being global Mental Health Awareness Month.