Cases of mental illness have become rampant among young people in Murang’a County in the recent past.
According to a psychiatric nurse at the Murang’a County Level-5 Hospital Psychiatric Unit, Angela Muthoni the clinic has been receiving high numbers of patients, with symptoms of mental illness to the extent that the unit with a bed capacity of 20 is fully occupied by patients at critical stages throughout the month.
Muthoni told KNA that on average they attend to more than 300 patients with mental illness in a month.
Majority of the patients are men aged between 15 and 39 years and many of them are students from secondary schools and higher learning institutions.
Muthoni noted mental illness among the patients is occasioned by substance abuse particularly bhang.
Kuber, tobacco among other substances abuse, are also associated to increase of mental disorders which is common among youth.
“After clinical assessment of our patients, we have ascertained the conditions are attributed to excessive use of bhang. Some of the users of the substance are not strong enough to overcome effects of bhang,” she added.
Muthoni claimed that easy access of bhang and kuber among other drugs to learners is worsening the situation as boys as young as 15 years old are accessing the substances.
She observed that effects of drug abuse may cause to illusion leading to increased cases of suicide.
Treatment of the patients, Muthoni noted is faced by various challenge, some of which lead to relapse after the patients have recovered.
“Treatment of patients with mental disorders needs support from family and embers of the community. Some people return home when they have recovered but when they lack support from the family, the condition usually recurs,” explained the nurse.
She continued, “some of patients opt to abandon medication thus making their healing a big challenge.”
The hospital psychiatric unit is the second one from the one in Nyeri General Hospital in the whole Mount Kenya region.
Muthoni noted that they receive patients from neighbouring counties including Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Embu.
“We are six psychiatric nurses and one doctor in the unit. The number is overwhelming and there is need to expand the unit and necessary facilities to be provided,” said the medic.
She proposed that war on drugs abuse be targeted to learning institutions saying drug peddlers have come up with means to sneak in drugs to students.
“Thorough counseling is also needed in schools as young people can easily be influenced to abuse of drugs,” she further noted.
By Bernard Munyao