YOU ARE NOT ALONE (YANA) Malawi, a mental health organization founded by Karen Bisalomu under the GLOBAL CHANGE MAKERS Organization is on a mental health awareness campaign targeting youths in schools and communities.
In an interview last week, Mental Health Advocate For YANA, Machulika Mughogho, said mental health issues have affected the development of the country as the country has lost young productive people hence the awareness campaigns.
“We have lost several intellectuals in many public and private universities who could have helped in the development of Malawi but ended up committing suicide due to depression. That is why issues of mental health should be handled with care and proper awareness,” Mughogho explained
He further said they had their first campaign at University of Livingstonia (Unilia) Ekwendeni Campus and they plan to hold other campaigns at secondary schools around Ekwendeni.
“We plan to reach as many youths as possible with the campaigns so that they may be assisted on how to cope with mental health issues,” he said.
Mughogho added that everyone needs to join hands to address mental health issues.
“Government and other stakeholders should build more mental health facilities where people can find help and train more specialist therapists and doctors of mental health who will provide help across the country,” he said.
In a separate interview, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Specialist, Dr Precious Makiyi, said it is important to create more awareness among young people because most of them choose to suffer in silence.
“Through mental health awareness it helps people get information on what to do if they are suffering from mental illness. This way, they will be able offer them solutions,” he said.
Makiyi advised young people who may be depressed or have mental health problems to know that there is hope and that committing suicide is not an option.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) every 40 seconds a person commits suicide leading to over 700,000 people dying of suicide annually. Malawi has reported suicide episodes of children as young as 8 years old.