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First Lady laments mental health cases

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First Lady Monica Chakwera has lamented rising cases of mental health-related problems, attributing the trend to factors such as gender-based violence (GBV), drug and substance abuse.

She said it is unfortunate that these factors are contributing to rocketing cases of suicide in the country.

Chakwera made the remarks in Lilongwe Wednesday during a high-level advocacy meeting on positive masculinity under the Spotlight Initiative Programme.

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The event was organised by Chakwera’s Shaping Our Future Foundation (SOFF) with support from ActionAid and United Nations Women.

“There is a need to open up on the same and propose solutions in a quest to reverse the trend,” Chakwera told traditional and religious leaders from Mzimba District.

It has been identified as one of the districts with the highest rates of GBV in Malawi.

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Chakwera also called on people to intensify girl protection efforts.

Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Kaliati admitted that, despite making efforts to curb GBV cases, cases go unabated.

She urged law enforcers to ensure that GBV perpetrators are brought to book.

ActionAid Malawi Executive Director Pamela Kuwali said individualistic approaches to problems such as gender inequality overlook systematic structural causes and reinforce a perception that gender issues are women issues.

All the speakers at the meeting emphasised the need to end negative masculinity.

SOFF was founded by the First Lady and focuses on supporting the girl child.

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