KAMPALA. Butabika Mental Referral Hospital is stuck with at least 100 healed mental health patients, the executive director of the hospital said yesterday.
Dr David Basangwa told a group of youth under their pressure group, Drugs Hapana (No drugs), that neglect of the patients by relatives often makes the patients feel isolated and rejected.
“Out of these stranded healed patients, 100 have fully recovered and are supposed to be taken back to their homes, but the biggest challenge is that some of these people’s relatives don’t want to pick them up,” he said.
The group had paid a courtesy visit to victims of drug addiction and alcohol at the facility.
Dr Basangwa said whereas the hospital is supposed to manage 550 patients at a go, they are currently accommodating 907 patients.
He attributed this to the increasing number of stranded healed patients who have been abandoned at the hospital by relatives.
“Some of the victims of mental illness never receive visitors here, their relatives leave them behind and never make any follow ups. Butabika is like any other normal hospital; come visit and check on your patients, don’t leave them to feel like they are not needed in society,” he said.
Dr Basangwa added that some of the healed patients that are resettled back home return to the hospital, sometimes after only one day because their relatives don’t accept them even when they have recovered.
Ms Ann Ssebunya, the leader of Drugs Hapana, said the society needs to accept victims of mental illnesses to help them recover fully.
She cited being stigmatised by the public as one of the major problems faced by mental health patients.
“The community needs to stop stigmatising people from drug rehabilitation; this will be the only way that we help them fit into the community,” she said.