Social Musings: Monitor mental health


The World Health Organisation defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not only the absence of disease or infirmity.

We seem to undermine the impact that psychological issues have on individuals as they transition between various phases in life. Psychological health is essential especially as individuals grow from being children to adults.

As people grow they go through different experiences and realisations about life that can have various impacts on how they reason and relate to themselves and other individuals in life. Most of the times we fail to probe into such issues; thus end up doing more damage than good to ourselves and other individuals.


It is important for mental health to be monitored from a young stage. Nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities need to have psychologists on site whose sole purpose should be to monitor and guide individuals as they transition through various phases in life and develop their mental capabilities. Individuals are exposed to a lot while attaining their education.

Just the experiences alone that one can go through in the four years on a college campus can have lifetime effects on these individuals and their lives. There are at times when students witness gruesome events, like a student getting murdered on campus and the dead body discovered and seen by other students. Such incidences have undesirable effects on students but they do not get addressed.

There are others who are subjected to embarrassing and humiliating incidences either because they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they were naïve or they were bullied by seniors. Some are called for disciplinary meetings, some suspended and others expelled, but the issues leading to this and surrounding this are not probed into. The psychological statuses of the students before, in the present and in the near future are not taken into account.


It seems people’s mental health only become a concern when they become mad, as in medically diagnosed as mentally ill. In Malawi it usually takes hearing that someone has been admitted to Zomba Mental Hospital or has been spotted running around town picking up garbage to acknowledge that the person is in need of psychological help.

Unfortunately, getting to such alarming levels in mental disorders means the person has reached a point of difficult to return from. I personally haven’t heard of anyone who was seen picking up papers in town attain normality again. It is therefore important to address mental health before it gets to that point.

It is also important for parents to closely observe their children in their homes and as they relate with others. It is important to know what makes them tick, what their fears are, what influences them or not, what angers them or motivates them. It is not enough for parents to just provide for their children and make sure their physical health is intact. It is important to probe deeper and understand the psychology of your children.

This also applies to colleagues in workplaces , especial ly superiors in the office and those in management positions. Day to day work should include reading the mental states of staff and their psychological well-being. One of the factors that can lead to low productivity in work places is the fact that people just don’t get each other, thus becoming inadvertently insensitive of other people’s psychological needs and mental capabilities.

The psychological wellbeing of individuals working together is essential to achieve maximum productivity in work places and during team work. We cannot all be expected to have the same psychological needs and mental capabilities. What works for me and motivates me might be totally different to what motivates my colleague as much as we can be involved in the same type of work and perform the same tasks.

It is about time the mental health and psychological well-being of different individuals in society that we work with and interact with was taken into serious consideration and not just their physical well-being.

I reckon it can go a long way in improving social interactions, productivity and development as a whole. After all, positive change comes from being able to get through to people’s mindsets and attitudes.

I rest my case

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