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Psychologist worried over unhealed mental injuries

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By Yohane Simon

The past one year has been a period of sustained anxiety, fear, depression and trauma as Covid-19 terrorised the country.

But while government put up a robust campaign to contain the pandemic, the country has not done enough to heal the mental injuries which the pandemic has caused.

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That is according to clinical psychologist Dr Chiwoza Bandawe. The mental health expert said there has been lacking specialist help to provide mental support to people who have been battling Covid related stigma and discrimination.

He observed that Malawi has a lot of gaps to address the psychological trauma which Covid-19 has brought.

“There is a tremendous amount of disruption which can lead to depression among people who are affected. In addition to that, children had to stay away from school and sometimes stay away from their own parents who were affected by Covid-19. They too needed mental help to cope with the challenge,” he said.

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Bandawe said the messaging of the pandemic also did a lot of damage to people. That is because everyone was giving the impression that it was difficult to recover from the virus.

“It is important for people to learn to critically ask questions about the information which they get about Covid-19 to avoid depression. If necessary, they need to also seek mental help from professionals to deal with the fear which is associated with the pandemic,” he said.

However, Bandawe expressed concern with inadequate experts who can help people with mental problems on the local scene.

He feared that if the third wave hits the country as it is being speculated, depression would worsen among local citizens who have no access to mental health.

According to Ministry of Health records, Malawi has registered a told of 1 119 deaths over the past one year, 1 941 admissions and 33, 584 confirmed cases.

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