United Kingdom (UK) based mental health specialist, Gerald Namwaza Banda, who works for National Health Service (NHS) England in East Midlands, has launched Mental Care as a platform to help health professionals and journalists in Malawi to create awareness on improving people’s reaction to mental health.
Namwaza Banda, a former business editor at Daily Times newspaper in Malawi, observed that many people are at risk of mental health problems and that mental health issues are generally misunderstood and ignored.
“Mental health issues are often ignored in the society in all spheres and angles of life and people are dying in silence from this scourge,” said Namwaza Banda from his Derby base.
He also said the mental issues are underreported and misreported in Malawi media.
The mental health specialist said everyone’s mental health fluctuates.
“We all have periods of low mood, stress and anxiety. But it comes a mental health problem once this carries on over a long period of time, affecting the way you live and think, making it hard to cope at time,” he said.
Namwaza Banda said the media and healthcare professionals need to come together and help people understand the need to talk about mental health issues publicly.
He plans to engage Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter and the ministry of health for a working partnership that will include training local journalists on reporting mental health issues.
Ministry of Health spokesman Joshua Malango and Misa chairperson Teresa Ndanga welcomed the initiative and they are ready to work with MentalCare.