Chained in Somaliland: Inadequate mental health system

With inadequate resources and lack of professional staff, Somaliland struggles to heal the mentally ill.

Zoe Flood | | Health, Somalia, Africa

Hargeisa, Somaliland - Abdirisak Mohamed Warsame is one of just a handful of professionals working to improve the lives of people suffering from mental health problems in the Horn of Africa country, people who are largely neglected and often abused. 

"Mental health is an abandoned field in Somaliland," Warsame said.

There is no official data on the prevalence of mental health conditions in Somaliland but research points to high levels caused by - among other factors - the violence of the ongoing civil war, the widespread use of the stimulant khat, entrenched unemployment, and the lack of health services. 

Some families, who often don't understand the condition of their relatives, admit relatives to one of a small number of under-resourced public and private mental health facilities.

But in most centres, there are few or no professional staff who understand how to care for those with mental health conditions.

Chaining of patients is widespread - only the mental health ward at the Hargeisa Group Hospital is currently chain-free - and psychotropic drugs are often unavailable.

Zoe Flood was reporting for HRW in Somaliland. Follow her on Twitter: @Zoe_Flood 

Recommended

Content on this website is for general information purposes only. Your comments are provided by your own free will and you take sole responsibility for any direct or indirect liability. You hereby provide us with an irrevocable, unlimited, and global license for no consideration to use, reuse, delete or publish comments, in accordance with Community Rules & Guidelines and Terms and Conditions.

MORE FROM AL JAZEERA
Nepal: The Maoist dream

Nepal: The Maoist dream

Nepal's bloody civil war ended in 2006 when a Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed between the Maoist rebels and the Nepali state in Kathmandu. Many people have disappeared or got killed during the war. Al Jazeera tells this story through the eyes of the Nepali people.

War & Conflict, Nepal, Asia

MUST-SEE PROGRAMMES