DAA News Network

SOMALIA: Unending conflict brings rise in serious mental health problems

Posted 09/6-10 at 20.06

Prolonged conflict in Somalia, especially in and around the capital, Mogadishu, has contributed to an alarming increase in the number of people with acute mental health conditions, according to health officials.

Abdiaziz Mohamed Warsame, the only practising psychiatrist in Mogadishu, has said that most city residents had been displaced more than a dozen times, with some experiencing horrific violence against themselves, family or friends. "Very few people can go through this kind of trauma for 20 years and come out unscathed," he said.

Abdirahman Ali Awale, the director and founder of three psychiatric facilities in Mogadishu, said he set up the facilities after "seeing the number of people with mental disorders on our streets was increasing by the day".

Besides a woeful lack of the most basic resources, Awale said one of the main problems was lack of awareness among Somalis that mental health problems can be treated successfully. He said there was a great deal of stigma attached to mental health issues but "most of our patients, if they receive timely and appropriate treatment, will recover".




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