ZARANJ (Pajhwok): Residents of Zaranj City, the capital of northwestern Nimroz province, are concerned about the increasing number of mentally-ill people and demand establishment of a psychiatric clinic.
Sidiqullah is one of the mentally-sick individuals. Residents say Sidiqullah insults people, throws garbage at people and sometimes he takes all his clothes off and walks stark naked through the streets.
Sometimes Sidiqullah stands outside the gates of hotels, people give him food and he has been in this condition for six months now, but his family is not able to take care of him.
Arizo, who is mentally ill and is known as Khala-i-Dewana (crazy aunt). Every day, she walks around the women’s bazaar in Zaranj bareheaded, cuts her hairs and wears torn clothes.
Afsana Haidari, a resident of Zaranj city, told Pajhwok Afghan News that since last two months, there has been an increase in the number of people suffering from mental diseases in the city. Sometimes they also cause harassment to people.
She added: “Yesterday, I went to the market for shopping. One of the mentally challenged persons pulled my veil from my head and later I realized he is mentally sick as he was laughing and walking.”
According to her, sometime ago, her neighbor’s son became addicted to drugs due to some problems in life. He was diagnosed with a mental illness and currently he walks through the alleys of the city wearing colorful clothes and talks to himself.
Samiullah Hekmat, another resident of Zaranj city, also confirmed the increase in the number of mentally ill people in the city.
He added: “A few days ago, I found a young man lying in the garbage, he was a military officer. He turned to drugs due to poverty and unemployment, but now he is mentally sick, he wanders inside the markets and sometimes strips himself.”
Psychiatrists also called for the establishment of a center for treatment of mentally ill patients.
Remika Sistani, who has been providing psychological services through the Handicap International organization, told Pajhwok that mental disorders varied in terms of changes in performance, behavior and speech. “If mental illness progresses, it leads to psychosis (madness) and has many factors, the main reason is the use of drugs.”
He considered the existence of a mental health clinic as one of the basic needs in Nimroz province and added: “The increase in the number of psychotic patients in Nimroz is worrying.”.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Syed Khalil Shah Kazemi, a neurologist and head of the drug addict rehabilitation clinic of Nimroz Public Health Department, told Pajhwok that the increase in mental illnesses is one of the major problems of Nimroz society.
Dr. Kazemi, who has been treating patients in the neurology department for 15 years, said several factors play a role in the occurrence of mental and neurological diseases, which are sometimes related to hereditary factors, hormonal changes, and chemical activities of the brain.
Nimroz Public Health Department has repeatedly shared the issue with the Ministry of Public Health, but to no avail.
Pajhwok tried to contact the Nimroz Public Health Department for comments, but it refused to provide an answer.