Partners in Health, an International Organization has revealed that about 1200 people in Neno have mental health problems and are currently being treated in different Clinics around the district.
The Organization’s Medical Director Dr Beatrice Matanje said the cases were registered in Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health Clinics, which Partners in Health (Abwenzi Pa Zaumoyo) conducts in Neno.
Matanje said the cases may be higher than that and has since called on other stakeholders to do more awareness on mental health activities.
Matanje attributed the problem to poverty, stress, unemployment among other social economic problems which people encounter in their everyday life.
She was speaking on Friday during the 2021 World Mental Health Day commemoration in Neno District was held at Neno Stadium in the district.
“Findings from a health centre in Zomba district discovered that 30 percent of patients attending an outpatient clinic met the criteria for depression. In Neno, we have not conducted a study on prevalence of all mental disorders.
“However, following World health Organization (WHO) statistics that 1 in every 4 people has a mental disorder, we could assume that at least 25 percent of 160,000 Neno populations are sick mentally. This translates to 40,000 people,” she said.
Matanje said the long term effects on mental health problems includes suicide, murders, madness among other notable bad effects which society may experience including causing other diseases in the body like anger.
She added: ”Mental illness is a disease of the body just like malaria and can be treated if detected. In Malawi, studies exploring prevalence of all mental disorders have not been conducted; however, common mental disorders have been investigated.
Mental Health Specialist Dr Precious Makiyi, said mental health disorders is a big challenge in Malawi though there is no statistics saying even drug and alcohol abuse can also be the result of the mental disorder.
Makiyi said there is a need to create more awareness on the disease saying the problem is huge among youth in Neno and Malawi in general.
“We need more human resource on this disease. I know the country has specialist in this problem but have been assigned to other works citing poverty, unemployment, depression and social economic problem as a major challenge,” he said.
WHO set aside 10th October every year as a day to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
80 percent of people suffering from mental disorders and those committing suicide live in low and medium income countries where treatment gap is low.
This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health in conjunction with WHO is “Mental Health in An Unequal World: Together We can make a Difference.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :