PARI ANNEX TO OPEN SOON AMID SURGE IN MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS

Talent Gore 

PARIRENYATWA Mental Health hospital is set to reopen mid-year, after the unit was closed in February to undergo renovations and expansion, amid a surge in mental health patients.

The hospital has been seeing an average of 50 patients daily in addition to those who are already admitted in the wards.

Speaking during a tour of the Parirenyatwa Mental Health Hospital renovations, head of department and consultant psychiatrist, Dr Fungi Mazhandu, said there had been a surge in patients being treated for substance abuse.

Mental health, she said, continues to receive little attention from stakeholders despite it being a major non-communicable disease that can affect a large percentage of the population.

“Mental health illness is a big problem which has been growing over the years,” said Dr Mazhandu.

“In the past, we would see patients suffering from schizophrenia or other disorders but now the problem is more on substance use disorders.

“The substance used back then was mostly cannabis but now it has changed its presentation and we are seeing more substances like crystal meth and other more dangerous drugs.”

Dr Mazhandu said there had been a surge in mental health patients over the years with the hospital seeing an average of 50 patients daily in addition to those who are already admitted in the wards.

“When we were admitting, it was going beyond 50 to 70 percent of patients being drug abuse users sometimes to 90 percent of patients who are abusing drug substances.”

Dr Mazhandu said the expansion and renovations of the unit comes at a time that they have been overwhelmed by patients.

“This is a positive thing in our community because drugs and substances are in the community so when the admissions increase it just means that people have greater awareness of the fact that this problem has mental health implications and that people are willing to bring their relatives,” she said.

“So the renovations are aimed at maintaining the care that we have always been giving to our patients.

“We are hoping to expand from 40 to at least 50 but we will see as we go along because the fact that we have expanded means we are accommodating new health guidelines as to how patients will be taken care of and we are hoping that by mid-year we will be readmitting patients at well.”

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