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Mentally ill patients increase by 5% in Herat

The number of mentally ill patients in Herat has increased by five percent this year compared to the last year, health officials said. 

Lack to education and jobs is one of the main reasons behind the increase in the number of mentally ill patients in Herat, doctors said.

October 10 marks World Mental Health Day which is dedicated for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma, but in Afghanistan, most people rarely know about it and the ways of helping mentally ill patients.

Wahid Noorzad, head of the mental health department of Herat regional hospital, said domestic violence, closure of schools and universities for girls and economic problems are the main causes of mental illnesses among women.

“Sadly, 75 percent of our patients are women because their communication has been limited and they are facing mental health problems,” he said.

Hasti, 17, a student, said she has been deprived of education after closure of schools and that she became mentally ill and visited the Herat hospital for treatment. 

“The closure of schools really made me sad. If the schools don’t open again, what will happen to my struggles of 11 years?” she asked.

A psychologist at Herat hospital said families should immediately take their members to hospitals when they see any sort of mental disorders in them. 

“Patients who feel they are mentally ill and have uncontrolled body movements, should visit the doctor or psychologist as soon as they can. The more quickly they visit the doctor, as much quickly they will be cured. If they visit late, it will be too difficult to recover,” said Hasti Khursand, a psychologist.

According to Herat regional hospital’s statistics, at least 250 mentally ill patients are visiting the hospital on a daily basis. Doctors said that with the rise in unemployment and hopelessness among the people about the future, the number of patients with mental disorders might increase.