Project title: Promoting Mental Health Discourse through Community Engagement
Duration: 3 years (working towards a PhD qualification)
Location: Blantyre, Malawi
Hours: Full time (37.5 hours a week)
Funding providers: Millennium University, African Academy of Sciences
Subject areas: youth mental health, health psychology, community engagement
Project start date: 1st February 2024
Research evidence suggests that mental health literacy (MHL) in Malawi is low. Many people in Malawi attribute mental illness to alcohol and drug abuse or spirit possession, resulting in stigma, maltreatment, and discrimination towards people with mental health problems. Inadequacies in the country’s mental health services and workforce amplify limited treatment access, knowledge, and negative attitudes, consequently resulting in epidemic rises in substance use and suicides. Improving MHL, which helps improve the identification and treatment of mental illness whilst decreasing stigma among youth in Malawi is vital. Millennium University has received funding from the African Academy of Sciences to conduct a programme of research focused on implementing an MHL curriculum in Malawi universities.
As part of this work, Millennium University is offering a 3-year research studentship to work on a project focused on the promotion of mental health discourse through community engagement. This component aims to mainstream conversations about mental health and related issues in Malawi using mental health themed youth events in community settings and (social) media channels so that youth outside university settings are not neglected. You will work as a funded PhD student With supervision from the research lead (Dr Sandra Jumbe), you will facilitate the organisation of annual community engagement festivals for youth and topical social media debates. You will manage and evaluate a website created for young Malawians to access culturally relevant mental health information and vetted local support services with support from the wider project team.
Key questions that may be answered as part of this PhD include:
- How to foster mental health discourse using community engagement in Malawi?
- Can social media be an effective tool for mental health promotion among the youth in Malawi?
Ultimately, the outcomes of this project will quantify the benefits of community engagement activities on improving mental health literacy and wellbeing. It will inform low-cost ways to address the mental health treatment gap in Malawi. This evidence can be used by commissioners when making decisions on funding and service prioritisation. mental health researchers and practitioners can use this work to develop participatory methods guidance. Knowledge of community engagement practice and impact will help to inform the design of future interventions and provide recommendations for widescale implementation of youth-focused mental health interventions within Malawi and beyond.
The project is envisioned to take a mixed methods approach, including varied approaches and tools for evaluating community engagement work. Applicants should therefore be competent in the use of psychological research methods, with good experience in quantitative and/or qualitative designs, and with a willingness to further develop these skills where necessary. Your work will form part of the MHLeC Project, therefore you will become part of the MHLeC project team.
Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level and a master’s degree. Exceptional applicants with a first-class honours degree not holding a master’s degree with relevant work experience, will also be considered on an individual basis.
English Language Requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 6.5 in each individual component) or equivalent.
Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants who can provide evidence of Malawi nationality/ citizenship.
Funding Details: Financial support provided through this studentship is attached to working on and completing this specific project. It covers the cost of PhD tuition fees, and monthly stipend. Additional funds for research expenses like training to support your research or attending conferences within reason will also be available.
Method of Application
Please email Dr Sandra Jumbe at email@example.com for the application form
Please email your completed application form along with copies of your original degree certificates and transcripts, English qualifications (if relevant), and a copy of your Malawi passport or national ID card to firstname.lastname@example.org stating ‘3 year Mental health research studentship application (MHLeC 1)’ in the subject line.
Application deadline: 30th November 2023
If you have any queries or would like to make informal enquiries about this opportunity, please contact Dr Sandra Jumbe at email@example.com
*External Partner Application Data Sharing – please note that as part of this studentship/ scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with our external partner (The African Academy of Sciences) outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.
To apply for this job email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org