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Psychiatric cases rising at an alarming rate says Dr. Mburu.

Murang’a level five hospital Psychiatric ward number nine is usually referred by residents as that belonging to those who have gone mad, and any patient is admitted there  is avoided like plaque and abandoned by the family members.

Dr. James Mbugua Mburu, a psychiatrist at the facility says that the psychiatric department receives between 20 to 30 patients in a day, majority of who are treated and discharged.

However, the number must be higher than this due to what he terms as other centers that deal with in outreach services and supported by the hospital.

Dr. Mburu cites an increasing number of mental assessment requests from courts that seeks to charge those accused of murder charges.

He points notes that  in a span of eight months, they have received over 60 mental assessment requests out of murder charges within Murang’a County.

The doctor adds that suicide cases and attempts to commit suicide account to about four to five cases in a day, which is a very alarming number for a single County.

Dr. Mburu says that mental illnesses cut across all age groups and can even be caused by other general medical conditions such like in pregnant mothers.

Pregnancy and delivery has its own mental related issues such like the hormonal changes, trauma and burden of delivery. This leads to mother’s failure to breastfeed the newborn.

Some of the murder cases involve mothers killing their own new born babies known as infanticide a pregnancy related complication and its very common around the time of delivery and very few months after delivery. Starts at very soft signs

Children can also be born on developmental mental issues, commonest on issues related to difficulties in delivery and when the signs of trauma present themselves during early schooling days, the children are presented to psychiatrists either by the teachers or parents. Others suffer from Attention deficit hyperacidity disorder (ADHD).

Adolescents and teenagers are also presented to psychiatrists because of their unique challenges of development in growth and exposures to life. Dr. Mburu cites that this age group comes in very huge cohort because of maladaptive behavior and drugs and substance abuse.

The middle age group is also not an exceptional when it comes to mental illnesses. For men, they are mostly affected due to alcohol related disorders while women are bothered by trauma emanated from social pressures mostly because of their husband’s drinking habits and domestic violence issues. Of late, majority of students who are presented in the psychiatric department are a result of chewing Muguka, Says Dr. Mburu

The psychiatric department also handles patients who suffer trauma through road traffic accidents, carjacking, rape and defilement among other traumatic happenings.

The elderly are mostly affected by memory related disorders commonly referred to as dementia or geriatric psychiatric.

As a way of mitigating the alarming number of mental illnesses, Dr. Mburu calls on community and government to invest time and energies in mental, not forgetting on the health policy makers who puts more emphasis on maternal health.

He advises that priority in metal health in terms of human capital, drugs etc is critical since it impacts on all other cohorts of life.

He also calls on careful assessment of individuals by close family members on behavioral change where early mental health interventions should be sort.

He attributes the rising number of mental cases to changing dynamics in society and increased population. Mitigation measures should start at the level of prevention, rolling out programs both at community levels to create more awareness and interventions in seeking treatment at the opportune time.

In adult population, forensic cases include murder cases related to drugs and substance abuse leading to reasoning levels affected in the state of intoxication. Others like murder between spouses due to negative interaction with the spouse.

Forensic research indicates that these murder cases are caused by poor health seeking behavior, poor public approach towards mental health, late interventions, drug substance use to crime. All these are a big burden interms of forensic psychiatric both in Murang’a and nationally.

According to Kenyan statistics is that out of four people, one has a mental illness issue

Susan Njagi, is a medical social worker whose main work is to mental patients with their family members for psycho social support and counselling. She cites difficulties in families most of whom do not accept back mental patients.

Susan narrates that she finds it rough in convincing the families that mental illness is just a disease like any other and it can only be completely cured through acceptance and help from close family members.

Marcus Irungu is a mental patient from Sagana village of Kirinyaga County and has been treated and discharged at the Murang’a level five hospital.

He displays marks on both hands and legs as he narrated how he was tightly tied with a rope as he was taken to the hospital where he was treated for two weeks.

Irungu explains how he used to chew Muguka and Miraa citing the drugs as a major cause for his mental sickness. He vows not to go back to the chewing of the Muguka now that he is cured.

Jackson Kang’ethe is another mental patient who is recuperating at home as he schools at Nginda Youth Polytechnic in Maragua constituency.

Kang’ethe says that he is training to be a tailor and lauds the support that he got from his family when he fell ill

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