Drug induced mental health cases overwhelm ZPCS institutions

UZ students

THE Increased drug use and substance abuse has contributed the rise of mental health cases in the country, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) director of health Services, Senior Assistant Commissioner Dr Evidence Gaka has said.

Speaking at the 2022 World Mental Health day commemorations held at the University of Zimbabwe on Monday, Dr Gaka said their mental health facilities have suffered the most as admissions are exceeding capacity.

“The number of patients admitted at Chikurubi special institution was 478 against an official holding capacity of 150, the institutions are clearly overcrowded.”

"Special institutions are responsible for a very large number of mental health services in Zimbabwe as you are all aware there is an increase in drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe and this has caused an increase in admissions of patients with substance-induced mental conditions in the special institutions,” he said.

Dr Gaka said overcrowding has a negative impact on the treatment and recovery process for patients under rehabilitation.

“Such increasing numbers negatively impact on the rehabilitation process for patients as institutions are not adequately resourced to cater for such large numbers,” he added.

Said Dr Gaka: "As of 6 October 2022 ZPCS has a total of 779 mental patients, these are not convicts by the way, they are just mental patients who are in the special institutions sorely for the purpose of treatment, at Mlondolozi the number of mental patients was 301 against an official holding capacity of 406 patients."

The 2022 World Mental Health day ran under the theme, 'Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority.'

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