SPOTLIGHT ON RESEARCH
Mental Health Literacy in Malawi
Millennium University alongside Queens Mary University of London is currently working on a Mental Health Literacy project.
Depression in Malawi is common with prevalence rates of up to 21% in adolescents. However, understanding of mental health and mental illness in Malawi is very poor. Many people attribute causes of mental health disorders to alcohol and drug abuse or spirit possession, resulting in stigma, maltreatment and discrimination towards people with mental health issues. The country’s chronic lack of mental health services and healthcare professionals amplifies limited treatment access, knowledge and negative attitudes.
This proposed project involves delivering targeted workshops focused on increasing mental health literacy to adolescents, their educators and advocates in university and secondary school settings in southern Malawi. We will use a mental health literacy scale to assess the impact of the workshops on attendees’ mental health knowledge and attitudes.
We anticipate three main outcomes; enhanced understanding of mental health, decreased stigma and enhanced help seeking ability among workshop attendees. Expected key impacts include improved wellbeing and building mental health capacity among adolescents and the educational community.
Findings will be published in peer reviewed journals and used to inform research priorities. If results are positive, workshop content can be rolled out to similar cohorts in other parts of Malawi and tested in the wider sub-Saharan region.
OTHER: Gender Policy Review in HIs in collaboration with National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Children, Disability and Social Welfare (MoGCD&SW) and funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).