Sparc Systems (Africa) Limited has partnered Caring Hands, non-profit organisation that promotes mental health awareness, to develop a mobile application called Mental Lab.
In an interview in Blantyre on Friday after signing the partnership, Caring Hands events management and partnership director Spiwe Zulu said the application will simulate the automation of processes involved when one seeks mental health therapy.
He said: “The app will automate the processes of awareness to individuals who are mentally disturbed or who are stressed and anxious and are seeking therapy to ease their state.
“It will also automate the activities involved when individuals are trying to reach out to service providers (therapists) by providing a feature that will enable them to remotely book therapy sessions.”
Zulu said to minimize face-to-face interactions in the Covid-19 pandemic era, the mobile app will also automate this process by providing a user interaction platform feature that will enable them to chat, discuss various mental health issues and interact with each other in a group format.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also exacerbated cases of mental health, with Malawi Police Service figures showing that suicide cases increased by 57 percent in 2020 as a result of loss of hope in dealing with problems resulting from Covid-19.
“Looking at the trajectory, these figures are likely to go up in 2021,” said Spiwe.
Sparc Systems, an information and communications technology firm, is developing the application from scratch into implementation stage and will be be supporting the application when it is up and running.
The firm will also be responsible for all the technical requirements to do with the application.
On his part, Sparc Systems (Africa) Limited acting group head of sales and market Harry Kasandala said in Covid-19 era, may people have been affected by mental health issues one way or another.
“We have lost loved ones, most people are struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet, and many other issues.
“Most people are struggling thinking about how they take the next day. Most of the people end up into alcohol and illicit drug abuse or even suicide,” he said.
Kasandala said they are delighted to partner Caring Hands to help have a better national healthwise whose people can become productive citizens.
He said Sparc systems will be providing technical expertise to develop the Mental Lab App.
“This is a complex App to develop as it will have a combination of medical informatics, third party integrations, a blog, social media and payment gateway functionalities all in the Mental Lab App,” he said.
Mental health is one of the most pressing concerns for public healthcare systems worldwide.
Studies have identified mental illnesses as the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality across the world.
Caption: Kasandala (L) and Zulu after signing the partnership