Poor living conditions contribute to mental health problems -Malawi study

Lack of basic necessities amongst people living in suburban areas increases their risk of developing mental problems, a study by St John of God College of Health Sciences in Mzuzu reveals.

Cheke Ziba: Poverty can lead to mental disorder

Cheke Ziba: Poverty can lead to mental disorder

The college presented findings of the research at Masasa on Thursday.

The research study titled ‘Community Needs Health Assessment’ conducted this year (2015) in Masasa Township in the city has revealed that two in every five families survive on either one or two meals a day without breakfast.

According to the Coordinator of Academic Programmes at the institution, Isaac Cheke Ziba, if a person does not eat sufficiently, he or she cannot think positively as it becomes hard for them to have peace of mind.

“Every human needs to eat adequately. We don’t just eat to satisfy the lust of our stomachs, but these essential foods contain vital vitamins that usually help us to think properly.

“How can you have a peaceful sleep when you are hungry? A hungry man is always an angry and worried man. Do you expect a person in such a condition to effectively contribute to the development of their communities and the country as whole?” wondered Ziba.

In the case of expectant mothers not taking foods which contain all the six food groups, he said it can obviously affect the unborn child and chances that the child will develop mental problems sooner or later in their lifetime are high.

The institution’s (St John of God College of Health Sciences) study has also revealed that most suburban dwellers spend many hours of the day fetching water for domestic purposes since most of them do not have access to potable water.

Most residents rely on firewood and charcoal for cooking which are very scarce in Masasa. The academic programmes coordinator also said the study findings had revealed that the residents spend a lot of energy looking for firewood and water even when they have hardly eaten anything.

“To make matters worse, you will find that a person has not eaten in the morning, yet he or she is diverting lots of their energies in search for basic items such as water and firewood,” he said.

He observed that with such living conditions, individuals are at higher risk of developing mental problems because they do not have enough time to rest or do business to uplift their livelihood.

Apart from training health workers, St John of God College of Health Sciences also provides counseling and treatment to people with mental problems.

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11 thoughts on “Poor living conditions contribute to mental health problems -Malawi study”

  1. Mnyamata wa nzeru says:

    There is no poverty at the State House but He does not think rationally and his head does not touch (mutu wake siwugwira olo pang’ono). How do you explain this? Does a lot of wealth cause mental retardation as well???

  2. Nankununkha sadzimva says:

    @ 1 you talk sense. Keep it up!

    1. The Analyst says:

      Thanks!

  3. madiru mhango says:

    The research is not informing malawians of anything new. Is Vimbuza a mental illness? I ask beause poverty smells like Vimbuza. A big percentage of malawians are considered poor. Are we facing an epidermic incedence of mental illnesses or poverty and mental illnesses connections,in the research, are only relevant in the cities where it was conducted? I would say it is a good start.

  4. Koma says:

    How much money have you spent on your research? How much have they paid you? Lusaka ku nayamba kale ku Malawi
    Bwanji bilingual alibe misala. Kodi Ukufuna FUNDING? Kumasasa ndakhalako. Ine ndi waku mwela. It is no different from Ndirande, Bangwe, Makhetha, NATCHOLI.

  5. ngongoliwa says:

    True, chamba can’t make pipo mad, look at Spear, Bunny Wailor, Buzy Signal, Culture they have never gone mad.
    A Ziwa, mpaka research zomwezi ??

  6. Researcher from the South says:

    Why waste time and resources doing a research whose findings you can predict well in advance because there is sufficient quality findings? And there is a big difference between cause and association. Does it occur to you that mental illness ( e.g. corrupt minds leading to cashgate, wrong priority setting- ministerial cars instead of paying teachers etc) may be contributing to poor living conditions?

  7. kweee says:

    Pliz big brains, study about poverty mentality and how it conteibutes to poverty not about how poverty affects mental. Grow up in ur minds.ur research was already done by somone in Europe so no work done to you.

  8. Chingolopiyo says:

    Umphawi ukakula mutu sungagwire. A Cheke Ziba zimenezi sizofunikanso research, mwangoononga ndalama

  9. Mugonapamhanya says:

    This is what I have always known. I personally do not have issues whether marijuana gets legalized or not. What I am not comfortable with are lies that it makes people go mad. Mental illnesses are mainly associated with the poor not the affluent.

  10. The Analyst says:

    The Culture of Poverty – A Social Theory by Oscar Lewis
    ……………………………………………………………………………………
    The Qry is an attempt to explain why poverty exists despite anti-poverty programmes.
    Since human action is both constrained and enabled by the meanings people give to their actions; these dynamics should become central to our understnding of the production and reproduction of poverty and social inequality hence the madness n social chaos.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    The poor are not simply poor or lack resources hence mad as the reserach puts it; but also acquire a poverty-perpetuating value system. That is, a culture of poverty hence mechanisms that tend to perpetuate poverty – worldviews, aspirations, character of childrean who grow up hence socialised into behaviours and attitudes that perpetuate it.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    The people in the culture of poverty have a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of deprivation, of dependency, of not belonging. They are like aliens in their own country, convinced that the existing institutions do not serve their interests and needs. Along with this feeling of powerlessness is a widespread feeling of inferiority, and of personal unworthiness.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    People in a culture of poverty have very little sense of history. They are a marginal people who know only of their own troubles, their own local conditions, their own neighbourhood, their own way of life.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    The Qry concludes: The poor have no one else but themselves to blame n their culture of poverty i.e. the “it is ok” or “God is watching” or “after all my family is poor” attitude.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    We all know that rapid population growth is one of the root causes of our wholesale poverty n that the poor are producing more yet if you ask them to check their energies n reduce the number of kids since there is no market for kids, you will be accused of being at war with the will of God. This is culture of poverty! As a result the many children born from these families will not be educated hence illiterate n chaotic; or clothed or fed properly hence diseased e.t.c
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    The govt doesnt care either . . .

    If you study the poor n come up with the best recommendations, nobody cares to give you an ear or implement the recommendations. . . . the govt just doesnt care . . .

    Its just a waste of time n money studying the poor in Malawi if you cant implement measures to uplift them from poverty. . . coz nobody cares . . .

    “It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them.” – Bill Vaughan
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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