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BEIRA - High unemployment and the excessive use of drugs and alcohol have resulted in an increase in mentally ill patients among young people in Mozambique.
Joana Figueira, head of psychiatric services in the central province of Sofala, said that young females topped the list of mental patients.
She said dependence on drugs and alcohol was an attempt to cope with social problems caused by unemployment. Last year about 410 cases of mental illness because of drugs were diagnosed - against 385 the previous year.
The country joined the international community in marking World Mental Health Day last week, when it was disclosed that in Mozambique the number of mentally ill patients had doubled in the past two years. In 2005 about 21625 patients were admitted to mental health institutions and last year this increased to 41470.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 400million people throughout the world suffer from mental illness.
While drug and alcohol abuse are the main causes of mental illness, in Mozambique malaria patients who do not receive proper treatment are at risk of mental health-related diseases. - Sapa