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Alcohol, drugs blamed for increased mental illnesses

13 October 2014, 16:36 Joseph Njung’eh

Nyeri - Abuse of drugs and consumption of illicit brews have been blamed for increased mental illnesses in Laikipia and Nyeri counties.

The director of Catholic Caritas Institute in Nyeri County, Father Boniface Mwangi said about 3 736 patients have enrolled in the institution seeking treatment for mental diseases.

He further attributed the increase to unemployment amongst the youth and life hardships leading to stress and depression.

While addressing the media at Othaya Approved grounds after a walk to create mental illness awareness, Fr. Boniface said Caritas is advocating for the rights of people with mental diseases so that they can also be well represented.

“We want to sensitize public about mental sickness. We want to join hands with the community to stop stigma and discrimination against people living with mental illnesses,” he said.

Hellen Wangui Karimi, one of the organizers, noted that the public was not aware of mental diseases symptoms while those suffering have been neglected by relatives and community.

Read Also: Cases of mental illness on the rise

She lamented that treatment of the disease is not accessible because the Government has been reluctant in setting up treatment centres at County levels.

In Caritas, patients get counseling and psychological treatment services noting that about 75 percent have significantly changed.

“Plans by the Catholic Church to set up a rehabilitation and treatment centre are underway,” she announced.

“Mental illnesses are treatable and the Government should increase management centres, psychiatrists and also lower the cost of treatment to combat the problem,” she added.

The event received support of Open Society Initiative for East Africa organization.

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