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Mental illnesses due to violence on the rise in Somalia: Expert

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Somali mental hospital director believes mental illnesses caused by violence have been on the rise in Somalia in the past 20 years, Press TV reports.

“The majority of patients here are the victims of conflicts and (violent) incidents,” Director of the Habib Public Mental Hospital Abdirahman Ali Awale told Press TV.

He was referring to the ongoing aggression in the African state. The UN says Somalia is facing the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world.

Awale, known as Habib, opened his mental center in the war-torn Somali capital of Mogadishu in 2005. He operates a network of eight clinics and rehabilitation centers countrywide, with limited help from the World Health Organization and other international donors.

The WHO estimates that one in every three Somalis suffer from some kind of a mental illness.

According to analysts, the chaos in the country has resulted in loss of jobs, family, homes and property which in turn contribute to mental illnesses.

The majority of the patients at the Habib medical center are victims of the Mogadishu conflict.

Habib believes his efforts to help the mentally ill are being undermined by the spiraling conflict in Somalia.

The country has been without a functioning central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.



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