Young Malawians develop skills and knowledge to design and manage new responses to the mental health challenges that are increasingly affecting their peers. Zamumtima Sizawekha (meaning 'if you have a burden, you do not have to carry it on your own') breaks the barriers and stigma around mental health among youth, using participatory research and performances.
In Malawi mental health issues are little discussed and heavily stigmatised, but a growing problem, particularly among young people. In late 2019, 30 suicides were being recorded every month. With few mental health professionals in Malawi (0.01 psychiatrists per 100,000 people), low mental health literacy, and high levels of social stigma, many young people with mental health conditions suffer in silence.
20 university and college students will receive tailored training on mental health, Human-Centred Design and participatory arts. They will use this to research knowledge and perceptions about mental health in their communities, and design projects in response to the challenges identified. The peer-led approach, combined with ArtGlo's arts-based methodology, which has proven effective at challenging stigma and developing creative responses, will allow young people to design new solutions.
Findings from post-project research and reflection sessions will be shared with key mental health and education stakeholders, to allow the wider adoption of findings, and either strengthening or development of new services that respond to them,. Further support channels will be investigated for the continuation of particularly effective, high-impact projects. Past Students With Dreams projects have developed into community projects, NGOs and businesses.
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