Mental Health Users and Cares Association (MeHUCA)
Run by those who have or have had a mental illness, their carers and health workers, MeHUCA is the voice of those affected by mental illness in Malawi since 2010.
As of December 2019, MeHUCA operates in 7 districts with recent additions being Mzimba District in the North and Blantyre in the South. Across all 7 districts MeHUCA has 18 peer support groups with a membership of 410.
Currently, MeHUCA is implementing a project funded by Comic Relief and supported by CBM Malawi in partnership with Malawi Council of the Handicapped (MACOHA). Through this project, in the past two years has had four major mental health awareness campaigns in each of the districts with the exception of Blantyre and Mzimba. In three of these awareness campaigns took the lead whilst the fourth campaing MACOHA's Community Mental Health Forums took the lead. During these awareness campaigns, MeHUCA engaged local media houses to cover the awareness campaigns in both English and local language specific to that area, ensuring that members of the community unable to attend the event had access to the event. MeHUCA support groups within these districts sharing information through, art (play, song, dance, poems).
During this pandemic, MeHUCA has transitioned from peer support groups meeting face to face to telephonic contact and a buddy system to accommodate support group members without access to phones. Posters and pamplets were also developed to be shared with community members.
In the past year, MeHUCA has also built its partnership base by becoming members of the Pan African Network for Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities (PANPPD) with nine member states and African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (AAMMH) which has recently been registered in Malawi with 8 member states.