Mental ailments rock Neno district

As people in Neno District are commemorating World Mental Health Day, the officials have revealed that almost 25 percent of the population in the district suffers mental disorders.

Neno District, under the auspices of Partners in Health (PIH), is holding activities to mark World Mental Health Day at Neno Stadium.

During the event, PIH officials disclosed that findings from a healthy Centre in Zomba district indicated that 30% of the patients attending an outpatient clinic met the criteria for depression.

However, based on the World Health Organisation statistics which indicate that 1 in every 4 people have mental health disorder, PIH officials estimated that 25% of the people in the district are likely affected by the problem.

The officials said currently, only 1200 people are registered in Neno NCD’s and Mental Health Clinics.

 In an interview with Dr Beatrice Matanje, PIH Medical Director in the district, she disclosed that mental health problems are on the rise in malawi and the rest of the world.

“We have been hearing of cases of suicide at least every 2 days in the country and the rise in mental health disorders are fueled by a number of factors including poverty in the country.

“However, not everyone will manifest mental disorders because they’re of different levels but if Identified early, it is easy to treat those who’re ill before it reaches suicide stage” said Dr Matenje.

Matenje added that Partners in Health organized the event in Neno as one way of serving the people in the district which PIH is operating.

Speaking during the event, the Adolescent Mental Health Specialist, Dr Precious Makiyi said Mental health is not age restrictive, it can attack anyone of any age.

Makiyi encouraged parents to take their kids showing signs of mental health problems to the hospital for treatment.

Among other causes, Makiyi identified drug and substance abuse and depression which is caused by Unemployment, poverty, relationship problems to name a few as some of the factors accelerating mental health disorders among the youths in the country.

Dr Makiyi added that addressing the underlying causes of the mental health disorder can help to reduce the prevalence of the problem.

He also said limited human resource in mental health professional and underutilization of the mental health professionals has led to the increased mental health disorder cases in the country.

He said Partners in Health is working towards raising awareness in mental health disorders and improve mental health services in the district health facilities as one way of dealing with the problem.

Among the several activities during the event that took place at Neno Stadium, Partners in Health organized dances e.g Gule Wamkulu and Football match between Neno Urban vs Belo Vision to entertain the guests at the event.

The World Mental Health Day is commemorated globally on October 10 and this year, Malawi had an event on the 10th October, 2021 in Lilongwe at Saint John of God Campus in Area 49.

This year, the day was commemorated under the theme “Mental Health in an Unequal World” set by World Federation for Mental Health in conjunction with the World Health Organization.

Neno district is in the Southern Region and it is the only district without tarmac road.

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