Zomba Mental Hospital asks reporters to report more on mental health

Zomba Mental Hospital has challenged journalists in the country to report more about mental health, saying this will help to raise awareness about mental health which is never taken seriously in the country.

The remarks were made on Monday when members of Zomba Press Club in the company of Zomba Central parliamentarian Bester Awali, and Zomba Malosa parliamentarian Grace Kwelepeta teamed up to clean the psychiatric facility premises.

Zomba Mental hospital Public Relations Officer Harry Kawiya told Nthanda Times that many people do not take mental health issues seriously thinking that it does not need medical attention, a situation which he said is fueling the vice.

Kawiya said it is unfortunate that some guardians prefer visiting witch doctors on assumptions that mental disorders are a result of bewitching while other families do not reveal to other people about the situation.

"Some of the guardians of the patients prefer visiting traditional doctors with thoughts that witchcraft has led to the mental disorder of their relative. Some do delay attending the hospital treatment with fears of how the society may see their family so they opt to keep it a secret.

Zomba mental hospital
Kawiya taking questions from journalists after the cleanup exercise

"Let me take the opportunity to ask you to report more in order to raise awareness on mental health so that people should also be aware of this referral facility," Kawiya said.

In her remarks, Zomba Press Club Public Relations Officer Mbanandi Mahala vowed to take another step in mental health reporting by focusing much on sensitizing the masses on the measures that can be taken when mental illness has just erupted.

Mahala said the media professionals will take advantage of the month of May in which Mental Health is commemorated and asked reporters to avoid contributing to the rise of mental health issues by using abusive words in their news.

Zomba press club
Mahala: we will prioritize reporting on mental health

“I am sure the media will concentrate on reporting on mental health this month of May so that people across the country should be aware of what mental health is all about,” said Mahala.

The two legislators hailed the press club and asked other quoters of the society to follow suit.

Zomba Mental Hospital is the country's largest Psychiatric referral hospital which has about 378 patients.