Cases of people suffering psychiatric problems, mostly due to life challenges, are on the rise despite the government efforts to contain the metal illness, The Guardian has learnt over the weekend.
“We see the number increasing in society not only for adults but also for adolescents and kids … issues of suicide, homicide and gender based violence are signs that show the mental health problem is increasing, ” said Dr Dr Kissah Mwambena.
The medical specialist at Muhimbili National Hospital’s Psychiatry and Mental Health Unit said children, youth and middle aged are now the groups encountering the mental health problems.
She said people fail to meet life challenges like problems at work, marital disharmony and financial problems leading to depression. Other people decide to use drugs as ‘solution to cope’ with the situation and finally get mental illness.
She pointed out that many patients delay to seek medical assistance because relatives tell them it is witchcraft, curse or being possessed by evil spirit and spend time in getting traditional healing. By the time they go to the hospital, the patients are already complicated stage leading to them losing jobs, leaving school or getting beaten up because people might suspect them to be thieves.
Kissah noted that lack of meditation and experts in Tanzanian hospitals is the major issue in solving the problem to deal with the condition that takes long to control as some patients fail to buy the medication.
“We are few, and many hospitals lack mental health specialists medication and lack of public awareness in the public and so it is difficult to combat it,” he said.
On the increase if HIV/Aids infection, Kissah said there is a link between the HIV/Aids. HIV/Aids may lead to mental illness and vice versa.
“Some persons who contract HIV may fail to cope with the situation, as a result suffer depression or other mental illness. Some mental illness like mania increase sexual urge and make the person sexually active with less precaution and therefore at high risk of getting HIV/Aids infection,” said Kissah.
World mental health day (WMHD) is held October 10 each year. The theme for this year is “Depression: a global crisis, selected,” selected by the WHO because depression is increasing. Depression in turn leads to lack of energy, decrease in production affecting both individual and national incomes. In Tanzania WMHD will be held in Lindi Region later this year.