Interview with Chiwoza Bandawe —
Lack of specialist support and growing unemployment are factors in growing mental heatlh crisis, doctors say.
Malawi is seeing a sharp rise in suicide rates this year, with some attributing it to the economic stresses of the Covid pandemic. Malawi police service reports an increase of as much as 57% on the same period last year.
“We believe that the rise could be linked to coronavirus since there has been a slowdown in economic activities,” said clinical psychologist Dr Chiwoza Bandawe.
“Suicide is a very serious issue at the moment because we’ve seen from the statistics that the numbers are increasing since January, compared to the same period last year,” Bandawe said.
“It is a drastic rise so it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. The rise can be attributed to a combination of economic and social factors. I think as people become more stressed – be it from economic or social [factors] – they don’t know how to cope.”