The World Health Organisation found depression to be the fourth leading cause of disability in Malawi (Bowie, 2006) with the prevalence of mental health need in children and young people in Malawi estimated between 10 and 30% (Kutcher et al., 2019). One option to address this was to provide schoolteachers with skills and knowledge related to mental health so they can better support children. There is generally a lack of evidence of the utility or feasibility of school-based mental health literacy programmes in low to medium income countries (LMIC). This paper aims to report on a project to train schoolteachers in Malawi on aspects of mental health.
The aim of this project was to determine the acceptability and feasibility of delivering a training initiative in Malawi to teachers to better enable them to recognise and cope with school children who had been exposed to trauma and substance misuse.
Feedback was generated through the use of a specifically designed pre and post measure, focus groups, interviews and observations of the teaching delivery.
Teachers found the training built on their existing knowledge and they requested further opportunities for training and consultation about how to manage difficult presentations. It was evident that teachers did not know how to access mental health care or support for children whose needs could not be met by schoolteachers alone.
For a sustainable improvement for children’s mental health care in this context, further training becomes valuable when located as part of a network of joined up health and educational services.
This work was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund.The ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest has been completed, and authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.All authors have met the four criteria for authorship.
Evans, N., Lane, R., Stacey-Emile, G. and Sefasi, A. (2021), "Training school teachers in Malawi about substance misuse and trauma: the need for a sustainable strategy", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 480-488. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-07-2020-0049
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