By Memory Msatilomo
Malawi on Monday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Mental Health Awareness Day with a focus on dealing with mental health issues that have affected close to a billion people worldwide.
Timveni looks at the issue further by looking at the country’s efforts in providing safe spaces to assist people affected by mental health challenges.
Some Mental Health Service Providers have observed with concern that the country has registered a high number of suicide cases among children and the youth at all levels of the education.
15 children under the age of 16 have reportedly committed suicide this year as compared to 12 last year.
There have been concerns on the absence of monitoring mechanisms to assist primary school pupils and secondary school students that are passing through mental health challenges.
Speaking to Timveni, education activist Benedicto Kondowe said mental health issues have always been overlooked in Malawian schools.
Kondowe added that Malawi does not have the capacity to deal with mental health issues especially in schools as there are no special trainings for teachers specifically focusing on mental health.
However, he said it is high time this gap was filled as it is affecting the performance of the students and leading to suicide among students.
Government is mandated to provide mental health assistance to students at all levels.
While admitting the gravity of mental health challenges in the country’s schools, spokesperson in the Ministry of Education Chikondi Chimala, however, says government is doing everything in its power to ensure the well-being of students.