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    MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH VITAL FOR POLICY DEVELOPMENT

    Head of Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jonathan Chiwanda Banda, says research is key in providing evidence for policy development and improved service delivery.

    Speaking recently at St John of God College of Health Sciences in Mzuzu during Research Dissemination and Practice Development, Chiwanda Banda said the country has not done much on mental health research.

    He said most scholars conduct research just to fulfil their academic requirements as a result they don’t share the findings hence the need to research dissemination platforms.

    “It is through these platforms that research findings can shared with the public for the benefit of everyone,” Chiwanda Banda said.

    He said the research findings will be shared with various stakeholders such as policymakers, academic and research institutions including the general public among others.

    According to Chiwanda Banda, Ministry of Health developed a Mental Health Policy together with National Alcohol Policy in 2020.

    “We are at the meantime working with the Ministry of Justice to develop a Mental Health Bill,” he said.

    Chairperson for Research at St John of God College of Health Sciences, Richard Banda, said research in mental health can contribute long lasting interventions to mental health disorders.

    Psychologist at the college, Devlin Ndumanene Silungwe, said research indicates that 60-62 percent of abused women in Africa are likely to suffer from depression which can result into mental health disorders.

    “We live in a society where cultural factors fuel violence against women and gender based violence in general. These can be linked to mental health,” he said.

    According to Silungwe depression can cause one to commit suicide hence the need to intensify research to curb the vice.

    The conference was held under the theme: Building Resilience in Health Professions Education Through Research in the Pandemic Era: Learning from the Past, Tackling the Present and Sharpening the Future.

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